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Is Gum Chewing Good or Bad for Your Teeth?

When it comes to chewing gum, it’s the type of gum you chew that makes a difference in whether it’s helpful or harmful to your teeth. While chewing gum containing sugar may actually increase your chances of developing a cavity, there is clinical evidence that demonstrates just the opposite for sugar-free gum. And there’s even better news when it comes to chewing sugar-free gum that is sweetened with xylitol.

Sugar-free gum helps to clean teeth

Studies have shown that chewing sugar-free gum after meals and snacks can help rinse off and neutralize the acids released by the bacteria in plaque, which are harmful to tooth enamel. Both the act of chewing and the flavor of the artificial sweeteners in the gum stimulate ten times the normal rate of saliva flow. Not only does the increased saliva flow neutralize the acids in your mouth, it also washes away food particles, helping to keep your teeth clean.

Xylitol reduces decay-causing bacteria

Sugar-free gum sweetened with xylitol has the added benefit of inhibiting the growth of Streptococcus mutans, one of the oral bacteria that cause cavities. In the presence of xylitol, the bacteria lose the ability to adhere to the tooth, stunting the cavity-causing process. With xylitol use over a period of time, the types of bacteria in the mouth change and fewer decay-causing bacteria survive on tooth surfaces.

To chew or not to chew

Although chewing sugar-free gum can be beneficial in most instances, there are some cases in which chewing gum is not recommended. For example, if you are experiencing any type of jaw pain or temporomandibular disorder symptoms (TMD/TMJ), you should refrain from chewing gum and talk to your dentist about what options are available to you.

For most people, chewing sugar-free gum (especially gum sweetened with xylitol) can be a good preventive measure in situations when toothbrushing and flossing aren’t practical, but sugar-free or not, chewing gum should never replace good dental hygiene practices.


 

At Southport Dental we are committed to providing a warm, stress free environment in which our patients are treated as family. Only necessary procedures are recommended, in other words, no one is pressured with “up selling.” When considering treatment, patients are clearly presented with pros, cons, and all available options.

We are accepting New Patients! Call us at 317-494-7366 to schedule an appointment.

About Southport Dental PC

New patients are always welcome. We will not make you wait weeks to get the dental visits you want. Let us know what you want to accomplish at your first visit and we will make it happen! We take the time with our patients to explain their treatment options and inform them of additional preventive care.

Contact us today to learn more.

 

Information courtesy of the Academy of General Dentistry.

What our patients are saying about us.

5 STARS! ! Not only is Dr. Mills very professional and an excellent dentist,but his staff is right up there along with him in professionalism and concern for each individual patient. You could not ask for a more caring staff headed by a well-qualified dentist who is excellent when an anxious patient has to undergo oral surgery by having 8 or more teeth extracted in preparation for dentures. I cannot thank my married daughtger enough for telling my husband and I about Dr. Mills and his wonderful staff! Rating: ***** 5 STARS!!!!!
- Barbara N.

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