To chew gum or not to chew gum, that is the question we’re often asked in our Cincinnati dentist office. On average, Americans chew 1.8 pounds of gum per year. The good news is all that gum chewing can actually be great for teeth and your gums — if you chew the right type: sugarless.
The American Dental Association actually issues a Seal of Acceptance for certain types of chewing gum, all of them sugarless. Besides not containing sugar, gum approved by the ADA also satisfies other criteria.
“A company earns the ADA Seal by demonstrating that its product meets the requirements for safety and efficacy for sugar-free chewing gum,” the ADA explains on its website. “Efficacy may include one or more specific indications, such as reducing plaque acids, promoting remineralization of tooth enamel, reducing cavities and/or reducing gingivitis. Studies must also show that the gum is safe to oral tissues. The manufacturer must provide the results of both laboratory studies and clinical studies in humans.”
Salivate for Health
Not only is chewing sugarfree not bad for teeth, but dentists actually recommend it for healthier teeth. The reason is that gum makes you salivate, which essentially gives your mouth a bath that fights the bacteria that causes plaque and cavities.
“The physical act of chewing increases salivary flow in the mouth; if chewed after eating, the increased salivary flow can help neutralize and wash away acids that are produced when food is broken down by the bacteria in plaque on teeth,” the ADA states.
Xylitol — a Natural Sugar Substitute that’s Great for Teeth
The best sugar free chewing gum for fighting cavities contains Xylitol — a natural sugar substitute that actively reduces cavity causing bacteria in your mouth. Unlike sugar, Xylitol doesn’t feed the bacteria so it cannot thrive in your mouth. Numerous studies have shown that it can reduce the risk of cavities.
Gums that Strengthen Tooth Enamel
Some gums include a substance called casein phosphopeptide-amorphous calcium phosphate (CPP-ACP) that can remineralize and harden tooth enamel. Known more commonly by its trademark name Recaldent effectively strengthens your teeth by increasing the mineral content on the surface.
So feed that sweet tooth the right kind of gum and the rest of your teeth will actually be healthier as a result. If you love gum, or need something healthy to chew on, ask your dentist what kind they’d recommend. Sugar free gum is flavorful, relaxing, and great for your smile.