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Does Chewing Gum Really Help Protect My Teeth?

Published on August 29th, 2017

Some form of chewing gum has been around forever and each year, Americans consume almost two pounds of it! Unfortunately, many people tend to wrongly associate chewing gum with candy. While some gum is full of sugar and is definitely not beneficial to your teeth, many sugar-free chewing gum brands are approved by the American Dental Association (ADA). This means that these gum brands have been scientifically proven to protect your teeth. But why exactly is chewing gum beneficial?

The physical act of chewing sugarless gum has been shown to prevent cavities by helping to remove leftover food particles from the teeth. It also increases the flow of saliva and when chewed after a meal, this excess saliva can help to both neutralize and wash away any acids produced by plaque bacteria when breaking down food. If this acid is left on the teeth for too long, it begins to break down the enamel of the teeth, putting them at higher risk for decay. However, the extra saliva produced by chewing gum carries a significant amount of phosphate and calcium that helps to strengthen the enamel on our teeth. Other types of gum may also contain agents that reduce plaque and decay, as well as remineralize and harden the teeth. Xylitol, being one of these agents, is a sugar substitute found in the majority of chewing gum that has been proven to reduce the amount of cavity-causing bacteria on your teeth and in your mouth.

While chewing gum is a great alternative to satisfy your sweet tooth and does benefit the teeth in some ways, it should never take the place of brushing or flossing. Gum can help to eliminate bacteria on the surface level but a tooth brush and floss are necessary to get rid of the plaque and food buildup that are deeps in the cracks between your teeth.

Courtesy of ADA

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