Chewing gum is one of the most popular candies all over the world. From kids to adults, we all love it. But, how good is it for our oral health? And what are the consequences of having a chewing gum habit? The answer is simple, yet a little complicated.
There are great benefits to chewing gum, but not all types of gum are good for us. On the other side, there are several cons of chewing gum that can damage your teeth and cause tooth decay.
It is important to be aware of the impact that all foods have on our dental health and know what we can do to maintain good oral hygiene. If you chew gum pretty often, then you need to know how to take care of your smile.
Is chewing gum bad for your oral health?
Chewing gum is not bad for your dental health by itself, which means that you can do it in moderation. The main problem about it is that most gums contain sugar, and that constant chewing can cause excess wear and pain in your jaw muscles.
Sugar in gum can damage your teeth
The reason chewing gum is bad for your dental health is because of sugar. Sugar wears down your teeth and enamel because it creates plaque. Dental plaque is a thin coat, which has a sticky feeling to it and is made from bacteria.
As you may have guessed, sugar creates the perfect environment for bacteria to develop. If you already had bacteria in your mouth previous to the gum, the sugar in it feeds it and makes it acid. This acid is what causes cavities and tooth decay. Without proper dental work, it can even cause gum line recession or gingivitis.
It can damage your dental work
Patients with dental work, like braces, fillings, and crowns, can damage their pieces while chewing gum. It can loosen fillings, bridges, and crowns. It can also cause trouble for people with braces, retainers, Invisalign, and other oral appliances.
It can cause jaw pain
Constant chewing can be painful for the jaw muscles, and it can even promote headaches. Patients that suffer from TMJ, temporo mandibular joint syndrome, are not advised to chew gum since this can irritate and create more stress on the jaw, which can be painful.
What are the benefits of chewing gum?
Chewing gum has several benefits, but we need to keep in mind what type of gum are we choosing.
As it was mentioned above, the main problem with chewing gum is that most of them contain sugar, which can lead to tooth decay. But, if instead, we choose sugar-free gum we can gain incredible benefits from it.
Sugared gum with Xylitol is the best type of gum you can find. Among all artificial sweeteners, Xylitol has shown great results in reducing the number of bacteria in the mouth, which can help you prevent cavities and other diseases like gingivitis.
Saliva production prevents tooth decay
The main benefit of chewing gum is that it can stimulate saliva production. Saliva is good for your teeth because it has an enzyme that prevents bacteria from turning into acid, and this extra saliva produced protects your teeth from cavities and tooth decay. Of course, this benefit is only obtained if we are chewing sugar-free gum.
Alleviate bad breath
The extra saliva can also improve bad breath caused by bacteria. Of course, there is still needed a proper dental hygiene routine, but chewing gum can make radical changes in the smell and reduce bad breath.
On a related note, excess saliva can also help with heartburn relief. This extra saliva produced can balance out stomach acid and helps keep all fluids down. People that suffer from heartburn can be truly alleviated by chewing gum for at least 30 minutes.
It helps lose weight
Chewing gum can be beneficial for weight loss. Since it is sweet, it can reduce cravings and prevent snacking. For people that tend to eat when bored or stressed, sugarless gum can be a great option.
It reduces stress and anxiety
One of the pros of chewing gum is that it can help to relax. The mindless activity can be helpful to reduce stress and anxiety, the reason why many smokers tend to use gum to change their smoking habits or deal with withdrawal symptoms.
Advice to take care of your teeth while chewing gum
As we could see, there are different pros and cons of chewing gum. If you still want to enjoy gum, you can follow the next advice to take care of your teeth:
If you want to chew gum, the best sugar-free gum is the one with Xylitol. Chewing sugar-free gum will give you the same sensation and experience, but without risking your oral health.
Remember to brush your teeth after every meal, floss, and use mouthwash to rinse your mouth from bacteria.
Aside from this, remember to visit your dentist at least twice a year so you get regular checkups and cleaning. You will avoid oral health issues and still enjoy all the food you like.
At Dental Solutions in Los Algodones, we offer top-notch dental treatments to maintain your oral health. In our dental practice, you can save more than 50% on any treatment that you need. We possess a well-trained staff fluent in English, modern equipment, and US standards for all our patients.