Some studies have indicated that chewing gum may contribute to cavity prevention. This may seem counterintuitive to what we’ve been told in the past, but within a certain set of parameters, gum chewing may actually be in our favor. Below, Dr. Darian Hampton from The Hamptons Family and Cosmetic Dentistry, a dental practice in North Dallas, outlines the dos and don’ts of gum chewing in relation to oral health.
When Is Chewing Gum Considered Healthy?
Chewing gum may seem harmless, but read a little further before reaching for that pack of watermelon flavored bubble gum. Not all gum is considered acceptable for promoting oral health. Here are some points to consider:
- While many gums are closer in composition to candy than gum, certain types of gum can actually promote good oral hygiene.
- When choosing gum, look for the ADA seal of approval. This shows that the product has been evaluated and proven to be effective in preventing tooth decay, rather than detrimental in causing it.
- Chewing increases the flow of saliva to the mouth. Chewing gum after a meal can assist in neutralizing and washing away harmful acids, preventing decay.
- While all gum increases salivary flow, many gums contain high sugar levels. Look for sugar-free gum to ensure you aren’t doing more harm than good.
Look For Non-harmful Sweeteners
Sugar negates the positive effect of gum. If you want to enjoy the benefits of chewing gum after a meal, only purchase gum with ADA-approved sweeteners. Aspartame, xylitol, sorbitol and mannitol all sweeten gum without promoting cavities and feeding the bacteria that produces plaque. Looking for the ADA seal will ensure the product you purchase is deemed safe and effective.
Not a Replacement for Good Oral Hygiene
Regardless of which gum you choose, it should never be used as a replacement for a proper dental care routine. The act of chewing gum can help reduce cavities, but should not be used to replace brushing and flossing. The best way to prevent cavities is to keep your teeth clean by brushing twice a day and flossing once a day.
Keeping your teeth clean is important not only to your oral health, but to your overall health. To schedule an appointment with Dr. Darian Hampton, email or call The Hamptons Family and Cosmetic Dentistry at (972) 395-9292.