According to research conducted by Wrigley, NACGM in 2014, an average American chews 280 sticks of gum every year. Unlike other candies, clinical studies indicate chewing sugarless gum following meals actually helps prevent tooth decay. In fact, the American Dental Association (ADA) recommends chewing sugarless gum for approximately 20 minutes after eating or drinking.
How Chewing Sugarless Gum Helps Prevent Cavities
Chewing triggers saliva production: Saliva neutralizes the acids that bacteria produce, washes away food particles and delivers disease-fighting substances throughout the mouth. Furthermore, the increased flow of saliva brings with it more phosphate and calcium, which helps strengthen tooth enamel.
Chewing Gum Used for This Purpose Needs to Be Sugarless
Chewing gum that contains sugar also increases the flow of saliva; however, the sugar is detrimental to the teeth since the plaque bacteria use it to produce acids that can lead to tooth decay.
Choosing Chewing Gum
When considering which chewing gum to purchase, look for one that has the ADA’s Seal of Approval. These products are sweetened using non-cavity causing sweeteners (i.e., Xylitol, aspartame, mannitol or sorbitol). The ADA Seal ensures that the gum has met the association’s criteria for effectiveness and safety. All information that is listed on an ADA-accepted product has been verified; therefore, these products can be trusted to do what they say they do.
Chewing Sugar-Free Gum Should Not Replace Brushing and Flossing
Chewing gum should never replace flossing and brushing. The ADA still recommends flossing at least once a day and brushing twice daily with a toothpaste that contains fluoride.
Sugar vs. the Sweeteners Used in Sugarless Gum
Unlike sugar, the sweeteners used in sugar-free gum are unsuitable as fuel for the cavity-causing bacteria in the mouth; therefore, these sweeteners help decrease the number of bacteria in the mouth, thus, reducing the likelihood of cavity formation.
Is Sugar-Free Gum Suitable for Vegetarians?
Although some types of chewing gum contain animal glycerin, the majority of sugarless chewing gums only contain a non-animal glycerin; therefore, they are a suitable choice for vegetarians.
Gum Manufacturers Adding Substances Designed to Harden Tooth Enamel
Some manufacturers are adding a substance to their gum that remineralizes and hardens tooth enamel. This substance is phosphopeptide-amorphous calcium phosphate (CPP-ACP), its trademarked name is Recaldent. Stronger tooth enamel helps prevent tooth decay.
Dental Erosion Occurs Due to Acid Production
The acids in the food and beverages we eat and drink cause dental erosion. These acids start eating away at the tooth enamel and removing some of the minerals that make up the enamel. As the enamel deteriorates, the dentin beneath the enamel is attacked and a cavity is imminent. The production of saliva while chewing sugarless gum helps reduce this kind of acid attack.
Chewing Gum Helps Replace Lost Minerals More Quickly
Replacing the minerals lost following this type of attack takes approximately an hour; however, by chewing sugar-free gum after eating and drinking, the flow of saliva increases. This increased flow helps replace the lost minerals more quickly.
Espinal & Willis – Carolinas Center for Advanced Dentistry is dedicated to providing the communities in and around Rock Hill, SC, with the highest quality care and most innovative dental procedures available. If you are looking for a caring and dedicated team of dental professionals, contact our office today.
Contact Espinal & Willis – Carolinas Center for Advanced Dentistry today to schedule your dental cleaning and checkup. We look forward to serving you. Call us at 803.327.4166 today!