We have many patients ask if they have to stop chewing gum. If you can’t quite give up your love for bubble gum here are some things to keep in mind. And, as always, if you suffer from TMJ issues we never recommend gum chewing as it inflames your jaw muscles.
Which gums should I choose?The best place to start is with whether or not the gum you want has sugar. If it does, it will do more harm than good to your teeth. There are not exceptions. If it is sugar free, the next thing you should look for is the American Dental Association seal of approval. Products only get this seal after they undergo a basic level of scientific scrutiny, so as a consumer you can be sure that your gum does not contain anything that will harm your teeth. However, there are several areas, such as remineralization or the neutralization of acids, for which gum can earn the seal for, so if you are worried about on specific area then you should do a little more research into your chosen brand to see exactly why it earned the ADA seal of approval.
The good effects
When you chew you mouth naturally produces saliva, which is one of the most important factors in keeping your teeth healthy. Saliva is the body’s way of naturally controlling bacteria that are growing on your teeth, and the more of it you have the better off you will be.
Gum has also been shown to trap a small, but significant, number of bacteria as it comes in contact with your teeth. This means that when you spit-out your gum, it will be taking several million bacteria along for the rid.
So chewing can replace brushing and flossing?
Unfortunately, chewing gum alone is not nearly enough to protect your teeth, even if you pick sugar free gum. You still need to brush at least two times a day and make sure to floss at least once. However, popping a piece of dental gum after a meal is a great way to help clean up any of those leftover bits of food that like to hang around and cause trouble.