Chewing gum has appeared throughout history in various forms. In ancient times, chewing gum came from tree sap. Today, millions of people use chewing gum to clean their mouth after a meal. Next time you’re picking up a pack of gum, look for the ADA Seal of Acceptance on the package as evidence that it has been scientifically tested.
Maintaining a healthy mouth is essential for preventing diseases and harmful substances from damaging your body. Eating sugary foods and drinks causes bacteria in your mouth to release acid that, over time, can erode enamel. Enamel is the clear, protective coat around the surface of the tooth that protects the underlying dentin. Enamel is harder than bone, but once it’s gone, it doesn’t come back. Limiting sugary foods is an easy way to maintain a healthy mouth.
How Xylitol Cleans Teeth
The body’s natural way of cleaning plaque from teeth is through saliva flow. The act of chewing increases salivary flow, and saliva can help wash and break down bacteria. Xylitol is an ingredient found in some chewing gum that inhibits the growth of Streptococcus, one of the bacteria that causes cavities. After chewing gum with xylitol for extended periods, bacteria have a harder time sticking to the surface of teeth.
When to Chew Gum
The ADA recommends chewing sugarless gum for 20 minutes after a meal to prevent tooth decay. However, chewing gum is not a replacement for brushing and flossing. Brushing and flossing every day, as well as visiting the dentist every 6 months, are the best defenses against tooth decay and gum disease. Chewing gum, using a fluoride mouthwash, and eating fibrous fruits and vegetables are also good ways to keep your mouth healthy during the day.
Although gum is good for the mouth in most cases, those with jaw pains or temporomandibular disorder should refrain from chewing gum. Also, the benefits of chewing gum are moot if the gum has sugar, so look for sugar-free gum. Chewing gum not only breaks down harmful bacteria, it washes away food particles and keeps your teeth clean.
Visit Reason 2 Smile Dental Today
Maintaining good oral hygiene doesn’t need to be difficult. Dr. Andrew Vernon is full of helpful tips that patients can use daily to reduce cavities and keep their smile bright. To schedule your first appointment, call (801) 618-3399 or visit our website.