Is Chewing Gum Good for Dental Health?
You may not know what to think of chewing gum. In fact, many patients ask us questions such as:
- Is chewing gum good or bad for your teeth?
- Does chewing gum help clean your teeth?
- Should my child chew gum?
People have a lot of misconceptions about whether chewing bubble gum is good for your health, so we have compiled some information to help you determine the answer. The truth is, there are pros and cons to chewing gum.
Pros of Chewing Gum
Contrary to what you may have heard, chewing gum is not always bad for your teeth. In fact, chewing sugarless gum can actually help clean your teeth. It neutralizes the plaque that forms on teeth and stimulates saliva production, which can wash away food particles that get caught in the mouth and lead to cavities.
You can reduce bacteria in the mouth by chewing gum that contains xylitol, a plant-derived alcohol which is also a sugar substitute used in gum. If you get acid reflux, chewing gum can reduce the effects of the acid with increased saliva production.
Keep in mind that, while chewing gum can be good for you, you should not treat it as an alternative to brushing your teeth. Sugar-free gum can complement other good dental hygiene habits.
Cons of Chewing Gum
The benefits of chewing gum depend on what type you choose. Sugary gum is not good for teeth. It can generate acid that breaks down tooth enamel and leads to cavities when the bacteria in your mouth react with the sucrose in the gum. Whether you get cavities from sugary gum may depend on:
- How long you keep the gum in your mouth
- How frequently you chew sugary gum
- When you chew the gum, such as before or after a meal
Another con of chewing gum is that it can irritate your jaw if you have temporomandibular disorder symptoms. We recommend patients with TMJ or TMD do not chew gum because it can result in jaw pain.
Are Any Brands or Types of Gum Better for Dental Health?
Different brands experiment with ingredients in their chewing gum all the time, looking to make it taste better and provide more benefits for those who buy it. You can look for gum that contains casein phosphopeptide-amorphous calcium phosphate (CPP-ACP), or Recaldent. This additive hardens tooth enamel and could strengthen your teeth.
If you feel uncertain what type or brand of chewing gum to select, search for packages that contain the American Dental Association seal. Brands that earn the seal prove their products are safe and the ADA has inspected them. Only sugar-free gums with safe sugar substitutes receive this seal.
Deciding whether to chew gum or not can feel like a daunting decision for your family. If you are still not sure whether you or your children should chew gum, reach out to us today to discuss your options and learn more about the pros and cons of sugar-free gum. Get in touch to schedule an appointment or contact us to speak with a member of our staff.