Many of us like to freshen our breath after a meal with a piece of chewing gum. The minty flavor knocks out the smell of garlic and other strong food scents that can make people we talk to wrinkle their noses in disgust. But is a sticky piece of gum really the best thing for our teeth? We’ve answered a few of the top questions regarding chewing gum and your teeth.
Is Chewing Gum Really Bad for Teeth?
Not necessarily, actually. Sure, its sticky consistency can cause damage to restorations like fillings, but it’s not nearly as bad as some candies. And there are many benefits of chewing gum that you might not think about. The simple act of chewing stimulates salivary glands. When you chew gum just after eating, the extra saliva you produce through chewing aids in the digestion of your food. The saliva also cleans off your teeth and gets rid of some of the bacteria and acid that could go on to cause decay. So overall, a piece of gum after meals is totally fine.
What Chewing Gum Is Best?
When you feel the urge to chew a piece of gum, the best type is a sugar-free gum. Gums that contain sugar leave the sugars behind in your mouth. Those sugars coat your teeth and gums, allowing bacteria to form. That bacteria grows and causes decay, which leads to cavities. When you chew a sugar-free gum, there is no sugar to coat your teeth and cause cavities.
A Chewing Gum that Reduces Cavities?
Well, maybe. Epic Dental 100% Xylitol sweetened gum contains a naturally occurring sweet flavor. Some think that Xylitol may actually reduce cavity-causing bacteria found in your mouth. So chewing gum with Xylitol could help to reduce the number of cavities you develop, at least compared to the number of cavities you could develop chewing regular gums.
The biggest thing to remember is that chewing a piece of gum after you eat doesn’t replace brushing your teeth. But if you can’t escape to the restroom to brush and floss, there are healthy chewing gums that you can use to freshen breath and clean your teeth temporarily. Want to know more about how chewing gum, candies, and other foods and drinks affect your teeth? Talk to our team at your next appointment. Schedule with us by calling or using our online contact form. Let us help you care for your smile!