Posted on 5/21/2015 by Brandon Cooley
Did you know that chewing sugarless gum can benefit your oral health? In fact, chewing things has been done by people for hundreds of years to improve the condition of their oral hygiene.
Some ancient peoples chewed on resin or latex from trees, grasses and grains. Ancient Greeks are believed to have chewed gum going back more than two thousand years.
American Indians once chewed on gum-like resins from spruce trees to clean their teeth. That is why spruce was used as the base for the first mass produced chewing gums. Spruce was used until the mid-19th century. At that time, paraffin wax was used as the foundation of chewing gum.
As chewing gum has developed over the past 50 years, more of the benefits of chewing sugarless gum have been revealed.
#1 Improves Oral Health
Chewing sugarless gum can reduce plaque formation in the mouth, which can reduce tooth decay. Some studies have shown positive effects on oral hygiene, and possible reduction in gum disease. There also is evidence that chewing sugar free gum can actually remineralize the surface of the tooth and prevent decay.
#2 Remineralizes Teeth
Saliva usually is secreted by the mouth each day, but this can be increased by chewing gum. Chewing gum leads to more saliva production, which can protect the teeth from cavities.
More saliva production can clear carbohydrates from the mouth, and the saliva contains remineralizing bicarbonate and ions that inhibit the acids that form plaque.
#3 Prevents Cavities
Several clinical studies have shown that the production of saliva from chewing sugar free gum will neutralize the plaques that can decay teeth. In fact, experts have calculated that chewing sugar free gum three times daily will reduce risk of tooth decay by 40%.
This protective aspect has the most effect within 20-30 minutes after a food is eaten. However, increased flow of saliva tends to slow down after the food has been swallowed. The protective aspects of saliva production are reduced at this time, which may cause an increase in tooth decay. So, chewing sugar free gum after a meal can help to keep saliva production flowing. This can protect the teeth.
Also, it has been found that this type of gum can increase the strength of tooth enamel. If the gum was sweetened with xylitol, the acids that are left behind on the teeth from foods are cut down. This can help to maintain the strength of the enamel.
#4 Ingredients in Sugar Free Gum
Depending upon which gum you chew, sugarless gum can benefit your oral health in other ways. For example, some gums contain fluoride, which helps to mineralize the teeth. Calcium additives can help to build teeth strength, and vitamin C may help collagen to form in the teeth, which also leads to better oral health.
#5 Reduces Sensitivity
A less-known benefit of sugar free gum is that it can lessen teeth sensitivity, which may be caused by some teeth whitening products. According to a clinical study in the UK, patients who regularly chewed this gum after having a teeth whitening procedure had "significantly less" sensitivity in the teeth compared to those who did not chew any gum. Researchers thought that the higher amount of saliva production from chewing probably led to this helpful benefit.
So, by chewing sugarless gum regularly, you may be able to realize several oral health benefits. Make sure you look for a gum that has the ADA seal; that way you know that the gum is safe and effective for maintaining dental health.
If you are ready for your dental health checkup, call us today at (425) 998-6998!