When thinking about what dental hygiene tools you should be using every day, chewing gum probably isn’t the first thing that comes to mind. But more and more dentists are advocating chewing sugarless gum for 20 minutes after eating. Why? The American Dental Association recognizes that science backs up sugarfree gum as protecting your teeth.
Chewing increases the flow of saliva in your mouth. By chewing sugarless gum after you eat, whether it is meals or snacks, saliva levels increase, and saliva helps neutralize the acids produced from the foods you eat mixing with oral bacteria. Saliva also washes away this mixture. Because acids in the mouth wear away tooth enamel over time, you want to get rid of it as much as possible to prevent tooth decay. Another benefit to higher levels of saliva in the mouth is that it brings with it additional calcium and phosphates which protect your tooth enamel.
You don’t want chewing gum to replace brushing and flossing, of course, but using it to supplement your daily care can help, especially when eating out and can’t brushing isn’t an option. The ADA encourages brushing twice a day and using a fluoride toothpaste to protect precious tooth enamel. They also recommend removing dental plaque from between teeth using a flossing method that works for you.
Be sure to seek out oral hygiene products with the ADA Seal on them. The seal affirms that they have been rigorously tested to be safe as well as effective. For sugar-free chewing gum, the seal means that those products have met at least one of these standards: they lower the plaque acids in the mouth, lower cavities and gum disease, promote remineralization of tooth enamel and are proven to be safe on your oral tissues.
Our dentist, Dr. Mark Simpson and our Simpson Dental Associates team in Charleston, West Virginia want to help you achieve the healthy, beautiful smile you deserve. Please call us at 304-342-6162, and we will be happy to address any questions or concerns you have or schedule your next visit!