You’ve done a quick breath check after your garlicky lunch. You’re short on time to run back to the office. It can seem like a quick and easy stand in for brushing to pop a stick of gum in your mouth to freshen your breath, but is chewing gum helpful or harmful to your teeth? Can chewing gum help oral health?
Clinical studies have shown that some types of chewing gum can help oral health! Chewing flavored gum can stimulate your mouth’s saliva production up to 10 fold which can help to rinse away bacteria and even neutralize the acids created by bacteria and plaque. It’s all about the type of chewing gum that you choose.
What to Look For
When it comes to choosing a chewing gum with your oral health in mind, it’s important to look for the right sweetener and avoid any harmful sugars. Check the full ingredients list and avoid any chewing gums that contain sugar or high fructose corn syrup. The chewing gums with sweeteners that are safer for your teeth will usually be advertised as “sugar-free” on the front of the packaging.
If you want to take it a step further towards using a chewing gum that can benefit your oral health, finding a kind that contains xylitol can be a great choice. Xylitol can neutralize the harmful bacteria, and the acid created by bacteria and plaque that causes tooth decay, and reduce the bacterias ability to attach to your teeth. Over time, using xylitol can actually change and possibly reduce the bacteria in your mouth to make it less harmful to your teeth.
When Not to Chew Gum
There are times, however, when you should avoid chewing gum. If you have a condition such as TMD or TMJ or are experiencing other discomfort in your jaw, you should see a dentist as soon as possible and avoid chewing gum or eating foods that require a lot of chewing such as bagels or tougher meats.
It’s Still Important to Brush!
One important thing to remember when considering the question, “Can chewing gum help oral health?” is that while chewing gum can benefit your oral health, it cannot replace the benefits of brushing and flossing 2-3 times a day, especially after meals and before you go to sleep at night, so you should always continue practicing your dentist’s recommended dental care routine.
Call our Palm Desert office to make an appointment with a dentist who may be able to help you find out more about this topic, and improve your oral health.