Chew Your Way to a Healthy Mouth
Chewing gum has been around since ancient times. The Greeks chewed sap from the mastic tree, the Mayans liked the sap of the sapodilla tree, and Native Americans took to spruce sap.
Nowadays, the base used for most gum products is a blend of synthetic materials. However, chewing gum is as popular as ever.
Are there any dental health benefits?
While many people think of chewing gum as a kind of candy, the American Dental Association recognises that certain gums have demonstrated the ability to protect teeth from harm.
The physical act of chewing tends to increase salivary flow. If you chew sugarless gum after eating, the increased salivary flow can help neutralise and wash away the acids that are produced when food is broken down by the bacteria in plaque on your teeth.
Increased saliva flow also leads to more calcium and phosphate to help strengthen tooth enamel. Clinical studies have shown that chewing sugarless gum for 20 minutes following meals can help prevent tooth decay.
To chew or not to chew?
In the future, look for chewing gum that delivers additional benefits to those on top of stimulated saliva flow. For instance, some gum might contain active agents that could enhance the gum’s ability to remineralise teeth and reduce decay or enable gum to help reduce plaque and gingivitis.
It is important to remember that even though gum can be helpful, it should be consumed in moderation.
At TAG Dental, we encourage our patients to chew gum that has been specifically certified by the ADA to protect their teeth from further harm.