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chewing-gumMom always warned about chewing gum. “It will rot your teeth!”

New evidence shows that chewing sugarless gum can actually help reduce the incidence of decay.

Chewing sugarless gum for 20 minutes after meals can help wash away the acids produced by bacterial plaque in your mouth. The act of chewing gum stimulates saliva which helps lubricate the mouth, neutralize acids and also carries calcium and phosphate which keep teeth mineralized.

Chewing sugarless gum can also help with dry mouth, a condition which many people suffer with. The implications of dry mouth lead to very sticky biofilm, or plaque, which can be very difficult to brush or floss away. This in turn contributes to tooth decay as well. There are different contributing factors in dry mouth including medications and some diseases as well.

Gum that is sweetened with Xylitol, in particular,  has shown an effect of inhibiting plaque production and the capabilities of acid production of the plaque. Xylitol is a sugar alcohol used as a sweetener. It is almost as sweet as table sugar but with 33% less calories.A great link for more information is:

http://www.adha.org/resources-docs/7161_Clinical_Overview_of_Sugarfree_Gum.pdf

Chewing gum does not replace brushing and flossing however.  And, it is should also be noted that chewing gum in excess can adversely affect the jaw muscles and TMJ. Moderation is key.  You should continue to brush twice a day and floss daily. Having regular cleanings and exams is also important to help maintain your smile.

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About Kim Peterson RDH

Kim is registered dental hygienist currently working at Seasons of Smiles in Camden, Maine. She graduated from University College in Bangor. She also holds an Associate's Degree in Business Administration through the University of Southern Maine.


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Chewing gum to keep your teeth? — 3 Comments

  1. Hey Kim, This just in from the American Dental Association, Bloomberg Business discusses the “difficulties the chewing gum industry currently faces, with sales down 15 percent to $3.5 billion since 2009 and the lingering feeling among industry insiders . . .  Bloomberg News notes that several brands had long promoted their sugarless gum as “cavity-fighters,” used slogans noting dentists’ recommendations to chew sugarless gum, and even displayed the American Dental Association’s seal of acceptance in attempts to widen the product’s appeal.”.

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