As a child, your parents may have discouraged you from chewing gum, and for good reason! Many of the options at the store are loaded with sugar that is bound to not only lead to a hyperactive state but also encourage tooth decay.
With a better understanding of oral health and the development of sugarless gum, however, chewing gum can actually be a healthy habit. That doesn’t mean you should run to the closest corner store and grab the first pack that is labeled “sugarless,” though! It’s still important to choose the right gum and use it appropriately.
Read on to find out how!
Sugarless Gum Leads to Cleaner Teeth
Chewing gum packed with sugar can lead to cavities, chewing sugarless gum can help keep teeth clean. The obvious is true—the gum can help scrub away food particles after a snack or meal—but the real cleaning agent is saliva.
The act of chewing and the tasty flavoring in gum inspires increased salvia production, which effectively neutralizes certain bacteria and washes your teeth clean!
Look for Xylitol
While any sugarless chewing gum can have a positive impact on your oral health, gum with the sweetener known as xylitol is even more effective. The reason is scientific, but simple enough—it inhibits the reproduction and growth of cavity-causing bacteria.
Basically, fewer bacteria are able to cling to and survive on the surface of your teeth. That’s a good thing for your breath and an even better thing for your pearly whites!
Sugarless Gum is a Supplement, Not a Replacement
Chewing sugar-free gum is a great addition to any oral hygiene routine, but it is important to remember that it is just that: an addition. Sugarless gum cannot replace other essential oral health activities, such as brushing your teeth and flossing.
However, something is better than nothing. If the situation arises where you can’t engage in your typical routine, chewing sugarless gum is a good alternative until you can—just make sure you don’t forget!
When to Avoid Sugarless Gum
There is rarely any harm to chewing sugarless gum. In certain situations, though, it may be best to abstain. If you have any sort of jaw pain or have recently had dental work done, it would be prudent to avoid chewing any gum until cleared by your dentist.