Chewing Gum: A Habit That May Help Keep Your Teeth Healthy

7 June 2016
 Categories: Health & Medical , Blog

Did you know that chewing gum can have healthful benefits for your teeth? Foods and beverages leave acids on the teeth that can cause tooth decay. While dentists recommend brushing and flossing daily, brushing your teeth after each time you eat isn't always possible. When you can't brush, chewing sugarless gum after eating or drinking can help protect your teeth through several actions.

Neutralizes Decay-Causing Acids

Studies have shown that chewing sugarless gum can help prevent tooth decay. When you chew gum, your mouth produces more saliva – a key to good oral health. The acids, which are left behind on your teeth after you eat, can damage tooth enamel. Saliva helps to neutralize and remove these acids.

Decreases Cavity-Causing Bacteria

Some sugarless gums contain xylitol – a sugar replacement. Although the verdict is still out as to whether xylitol can reduce tooth decay, compounds in saliva stimulated by chewing may play a role in protecting teeth from cavity-causing oral bacteria. According to the findings of a study published in the journal of Applied and Environmental Microbiology, salivary glycoproteins prevent the bacteria, which can lead to tooth decay, from forming plaque on the surface of teeth.

Strengthens Enamel

Stronger tooth enamel helps protect teeth from decay, and the calcium and phosphate in saliva make the enamel of your teeth stronger. Similarly, chewing gum products to which the ingredient casein phosphopeptide-amorphous calcium phosphate has been added may help to harden tooth enamel by replacing minerals in the enamel.

Helps Keep Teeth Whiter

Although chewing sugarless gum doesn't contain ingredients to lighten the natural color of your teeth, it can help keep your teeth whiter by preventing stains caused by foods, beverages, and smoking from forming. The chewing action and extra saliva it creates help rid your teeth of food debris and reduce plaque buildup.

Plaque is a colorless film that can make the surface of your teeth feel sticky. But if plaque hardens into tartar, your teeth can look yellow or brown.

Meets ADA Standards

Chewing gum that carries the American Dental Association (ADA) Seal of Acceptance on the package shows that the product has been tested for safety and effectiveness. For a chewing gum to earn the ADA Seal, laboratory and clinical studies must show that the product is both safe and effective at protecting the teeth through at least one of the following actions:

  • Reducing plaque bacteria that produce enamel-eroding acids

  • Preventing tooth decay

  • Strengthening the teeth by promoting the remineralization of tooth enamel

  • Preventing gum disease by reducing plaque on teeth

Currently, only sugarless gums have been awarded the ADA Seal of Acceptance. For more information, talk to your family dentist like Olson, Brant N DDS PA.