Benefits of chewing sugar-free gum
Everybody thinks that oral hygiene is achieved by brushing, flossing and using mouthwash. While these actions can maintain excellent hygiene, there is one key component missing, that is your diet.
Decay and periodontal disease are a result of bacteria acting on specific types of food, releasing acids and causing all kinds of problems. So, to put it simply, if you don’t eat these foods, your chances of decay and gum disease are minimalized.
These kinds of harmful foods are mostly sugars, especially artificial sugars. And of course, gum. In general, gum is one of the most harmful types of food that you can consume. This is because it contains a great amount of sugar, in addition to being sticky, so its effect lasts much longer on the teeth and gums.
This is true for sugar-containing gum, but sugar-free gum is a whole different matter. Some studies suggest that chewing sugar-free gum frequently is not harmful, but beneficial.
Sugar-Free Gum Washes Away Bacteria
A number of studies state that chewing sugar-free gum can wash away harmful bacteria, which lead to a decrease in decay and periodontal disease. This is true because of the stickiness of the gum, so the bacteria sticks to it and is removed when the gum is disposed of.
Sugar-Free Gum Increases the Production of Saliva:
We all produce saliva on a regular basis. It’s actually a key role in our oral hygiene. Eating anything would cause an increase in saliva production. We asked our friend, Dr. Taher Dhoon, a dentist in Greeley, CO, about the benefits of sugar-free gum. Dr. Dhoon says that an important benefit of chewing gum is that it increases saliva. Increased production of saliva has many benefits which include:
- Saliva Treats Dry Mouth:
Dry mouth is a condition when saliva production is reduced, causing your mouth to feel prickly and dry. Chewing sugarless gum increases saliva production and in turn, decreases dry mouth effects.
- Saliva Reduces Decay:
As explained, saliva has a key role in preventing decay. This is due to the watery nature of the saliva that tends to wash away the bacteria causing the decay.
- Saliva Strengthens Tooth Enamel:
Saliva is loaded with minerals, either from the diet or from drinking water. When saliva production is increased, these minerals stay in contact with the tooth enamel longer, strengthening it and protecting it from decay.
Sugar-Free Gum Reduces Tooth Sensitivity
In addition to being alkaline in nature, saliva acts as a buffer, shielding the tooth from harmful acids that could cause sensitivity.
Does this mean that sugarless gum is a substitute for normal brushing and flossing regimens?
Dr. Farhat says absolutely not! There is simply no substitute for the good ole brush and floss and toothpaste. Sugar-free gum certainly helps their job become easier, but in no way should be considered sufficient alone.