Is Chewing Gum Good Or Bad For Teeth?
There is much conflicting information about whether chewing gum is beneficial or not for your teeth. Which is true? Are all chewing gums the same, or are some better than others?
The short answer is “yes,” chewing gum can be good for you, but there is more to consider:
Which chewing gums are best?
Look for options that have the American Dental Association (ADA) seal of acceptance. This assures that scientists have evaluated the gum for safety and effectiveness. The seal also certifies that the claims the gum may be making on the packaging are true. To date, only sugar-free gums have received the ADA seal.
How do the benefits work?
Chewing gum increases the flow of saliva in your mouth, which is very helpful after eating. The increase in saliva can help to neutralize acids and which in turn helps to prevent tooth decay. Studies have shown that chewing gum for 20 minutes after meals is most effective.
Sugar vs. Sugar free?
While chewing gum with sugar will have the same effect of increasing saliva flow in the mouth, the sugar in the gum can be used by plaque and bacteria to produce the acids that can cause tooth decay, effectively cancelling out any positive effect the gum would be having. Sugar-free gums use sweeteners that will not cause decay, such as aspartame and xylitol. Spry is an excellent choice when looking for a chewing gum alternative; it is made with xylitol and tastes great!
Does chewing gum replace brushing/flossing?
No way! Chewing gum is great if you can’t brush immediately following eating or drinking, but it should never be used as a replacement. You should still brush and floss twice daily.
As long as you choose chewing gum marked with the ADA seal, you can chew with confidence. Your breath will be fresher and your mouth with feel cleaner!