Chewing gums have them there for centuries now, but not all chewing gums have been created equally- “equally”, in every connotation of the term. They are usually sold with candies and lozenges on the shelves, with sugary chewing gums, but not all chewing gums are harmful to the teeth. Some of the chewing gums have legitimate benefits for your oral health and dental hygiene. In this article, we will try to learn more about the benefits of chewing gum on your oral health.
What Is the Best Chewing Gum for Your Teeth?
The Oral Health Foundation suggests that chewing sugar-free gum stimulates the production of saliva, which helps rinse away the leftover food particles, rinse away the harmful bacteria, strengthen teeth, and reduce the amount of acid in your mouth that is responsible for eating away the enamel of your tooth. Some chewing gums have benefits, often more than one. The benefits include:
- Prevent cavities
- Strengthen enamel
- Increases saliva flow
Gum Ingredient Xylitol Is Good for Your Teeth
Chewing gums have been proven to be effective in preventing the formation of cavities if it contains a natural sweetening agent called Xylitol. Xylitol is a kind of sweetener that occurs naturally and has been proven to bring down the amount of dental cavity-causing bacteria in plaque. This observation was a result of multiple research studies in the year 2017. Xylitol is also known to enable the neutralization of the acids produced by the bacteria, keeping the dental enamel stronger. Another significant additional leverage in the fight against tooth decay.
Can I Strengthen My Teeth by Chewing Gum?
Some of the brands of chewing gums have an added substance called casein phosphopeptide-amorphous calcium phosphate (CPP-ACP). CPP-ACP, also popularly called Recaldent. This chemical substance is known to remineralize or slow down tooth decay. It is advisable for people who struggle with an allergy to milk and milk products to not use products that contain CPP-ACP.
How Often to Chew Gum?
Hold your horses before you get too carried away about chewing gums. There is an appropriate time and place to chew it, in a way that will benefit you’re your dental health conditions and oral hygiene. To achieve the best possible results, chew the gum after your meal or drink water, which will also help to rinse away the leftover food particles and sugar from your teeth and gums.
Chewing too much gum can lead you to experience jaw pain. Should this happen, it is your cue to cut back, Studies have also found a direct association between chewing gum and TMJ or Temporomandibular Joint disorders, especially among teenagers and younger adults. Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) disorders are medical conditions known to adversely affect the jaw joints and the surrounding ligaments and muscles. It can usually be caused by trauma, an improper bite, arthritis, or general wear and tear. The common tell-tale signs and symptoms of TMJ include jaw tenderness, headaches, earaches, and facial pain. Moreover, certain sugarless sweeteners more often than not, are responsible for an upset stomach if consumed in abundance.
What Gum Should I Chew?
When you are about to purchase chewing gums from a random grocery or convenience store, look for sugarless chewing gums that have the ADA seal on the package. The ADA seal ensures that the product is safe for consumption and is beneficial product for oral health and dental hygiene.
There is a huge selection of chewing gums including sugary and sweet candies, available in the market. But it is always wise to read the ingredients thoroughly before reaching out for the most indulgent one on the shelves, which can also harm your teeth. Choose the ones that have ingredients that can fight plaque and dental decay. Your future self and your teeth will thank you.
3 Tips for Choosing a Tooth-friendly Gum
1. Choose a Saliva-Stimulating Flavor
Some chewing gum flavors stimulate comparatively more production of saliva than others. Several scientific studies have brought out that strawberry-flavored gum stimulates the most amount of saliva production, especially during the first minute of chewing. Watermelon- and apple-flavored gums too enhance the production of saliva almost as much as strawberry-flavored gum.
If you happen to prefer the conventional mint or cinnamon-flavored gums, then you need to know that these chewing gums have not been proven to stimulate saliva production not as much as the fruity flavors. However, spearmint and cinnamon-flavored gums are comparatively more effective at bringing down the acidity of your mouth than the ones with fruity flavors.
2. Avoid Gum that Contains Citric Acid
Certain sugar-free chewing gums, especially the ones with sour flavors, contain citric acid. Chewing gum that citric acid can acidity in your mouth as a whole when you chew it. Cavity-inducing bacteria thrive in an acidic environment. Chewing gums containing citric acid can also cause the dental enamel to erode, especially when chewed more frequently than is appropriate. Erosion caused by the acid inside the mouth is a form of chemical wear and tear on the dental enamel and cannot be reversed.
Check the packaging of the sugar-free gum to make sure that it does not contain citric acid and to ensure your gum improves your oral health instead of wreaking havoc on it.
3. Look for Sugar Substitutes that Kill Bacteria
Sugar-free gums use various other sugar substitutes to flavor the chewing gum. Many of them are sweetened with sorbitol and/or maltitol, which are sugar substitutes that are known to not enhance the process of tooth decay. While these sugar substitutes are not bad for your oral health, chewing gums that contain xylitol or erythritol have added dental health benefits comparatively more than those offered by gums containing more common sugar substitutes.
If you happen to chew gums that are sweetened with xylitol, cavity-causing oral bacteria consume the xylitol like they would consume sugar, which is their primary source of food. However, xylitol is fatal for these bacteria and they die instead of growing powerful.
Surprisingly, xylitol only kills the bad, cavity-causing bacteria in your mouth and it does not affect the healthy bacteria. Consuming xylitol might also be beneficial to your body to absorb more of the calcium your intake which can help strengthen your teeth as a whole.
If you don’t seem to find a sugar-free gum that contains xylitol at your disposal, then try a gum sweetened with erythritol. Erythritol, like Xylitol is known to obliterate the cavity-causing bacteria in your mouth to further prevent dental decay or cavities.
If you struggle with the frequent development of cavities, then it is advisable that you chew gums several times a day. You might notice that there is a magical drop in the frequency of the development of cavities.