People chew gum for different reasons. Some chew it to freshen their breath after an overly potent meal, some chew it as a stress reliever, some chew it out of habit, and still some chew it to distract themselves from breaking the habit of smoking. However, chewing gum can also help to prevent cavities and tooth decay – yet another reason to continue the habit. Of course, not all gum is created equal, so it is important to choose the type of gum you chew with discretion.
As you chew gum, the saliva production inside the mouth is increased. A dry mouth is more prone to developing cavities than a moist mouth. Saliva helps to wash away bacteria from the teeth so that they do not build up in the sticky substance known as plaque. Not only does chewing gum produce extra saliva in the mouth to keep it moist, but the sticky properties of chewing gum can also help to remove plaque that has already built up on the teeth.
It is essential that you choose the type of gum that you will chew with discretion. Gums with sugar as an ingredient will not benefit your goal of preventing cavities. The oral bacteria within the mouth are most attracted to sugar particles, and they will congregate in large numbers around any sugar that they find in the mouth. As the bacteria congregate around sugar particles, they will begin to produce acid. It is these acids that create holes (known as cavities) in the teeth.
Choosing gum with artificial sweeteners such as Xylitol are beneficial. The ingredient Xylitol actually kills bacteria, so people who chew gum with this ingredient are less likely to develop cavities. Of course, gum chewing should never be used in place of flossing and brushing the teeth. Flossing and brushing are two essential habits that clean and protect the teeth better than anything else. Chewing gum can help stave off hunger, relieve stress, distract you from tobacco cravings, and even help prevent cavities, but it can never replace proper oral hygiene.
If you would like a recommendation on a type of chewing gum that can benefit your oral health, contact Sycamore Hills Dentistry today. We are proud to partner with our patients in promoting optimal oral health.
Posted on behalf of Sycamore Hills Dentistry