You may remember the old commercials from the 1980s and 1990s saying, “Four out of five dentists recommend sugar free gum.” While it’s certainly better to choose sugarless options over traditional chewing gum, is it really good for your teeth? You may be wondering if it’s a harmless habit or even something you should add to your dental health routine if it is beneficial. Our Fuquay Varina dentist is looking at whether sugar-free gum will prevent cavities and improve your dental health.
Choosing Sugar Free Gum over Sugary Gum
If you currently chew gum, whether it’s a few times a week or throughout the day, the best thing you can do for your oral health is switch to a sugar free option. Gum with sugar in it simply bathes your teeth in sugar, feeding bacteria and speeding the development of decay, cavities, and gum disease. Sugarless is, hands down, the better option.
How Sugarless Gum Fights Cavities
When you chew a piece of sugarless gum, the act of chewing, plus the sweet taste from the sugar substitutes allow you to experience ten times the amount of saliva production. This excess saliva rinses your teeth and gums of food particles, minimizing opportunity for bacteria to feed and cause damage, and it also neutralizes any acids in your mouth that can damage enamel.
Choose Gum Sweetened with Xylitol
While any sugarless gum will up your saliva production and help prevent decay, when you choose gums sweetened with xylitol, you’re adding a secret weapon to your dental health routine. Xylitol is a natural, organic alcohol found in plants, including fruits and birch trees. It has a low glycemic index, and although it has a similar chemical structure to sugar, along with a natural sweetness, it doesn’t behave in the same way.
Not only does it not decay your teeth, studies have shown that xylitol can block up to 75 percent of the naturally occurring streptococcus mutans, one of the bacteria in the mouth that causes decay. Xylitol prevents bacteria from attaching or adhering to the tooth, preventing it from giving off acids that can eat through your tooth enamel.
Should You Start Chewing Sugar-Free Gum to Fight Cavities?
If you want to improve your dental health and fight cavities, the best things you can do are brush twice a day, floss daily, and visit your dentist for regular checkups and cleanings. However, in cases where it’s not always possible to brush and floss, such as after a business lunch or when you dine out in a restaurant, keeping a pack of sugarless gum with you can be a good alternative. It should never replace good dental health practices, but it’s good to have on hand in a pinch.
It’s important to note that if you have jaw pain or temporomandibular disorder symptoms, chewing gum may exacerbate the pain. Talk to your dentist to see if it’s a good option for you.
Schedule a Checkup with Our Fuquay Varina Dentist Today
Past due for a checkup and cleaning? We are accepting new patients at our Fuquay Varina dental center and provide quality care, a safe environment, and offer several payment options, including a monthly dental membership plan. To learn more, call us at 919-552-2431 or schedule an appointment today.