Is Chewing Gum Good for Your Teeth?
Chewing gum has been a part of our lives for centuries.From ancient Greeks to modern-day people, it’s a simple pleasure that many of us enjoy.
But have you ever wondered if chewing gum is good for your teeth? As a dental practice, we get this question a lot, and today, we are here to provide you with the sweet truth about chewing gum and its impact on your oral health
At its core is the gum base, responsible for that chewy texture.
To sweeten it without risking dental havoc, you’ll often find sugar substitutes like xylitol, sorbitol, or aspartame. These mimic the sweetness of sugar without the tooth decay concerns.
To keep things interesting, a wide array of flavours is introduced, ranging from traditional minty freshness to fruity ones. And let’s not forget about the colourants, preservatives, and softeners that complete the recipe.
The short answer is yes… chewing gum can actually be a good thing for your teeth, but it really depends on the type of gum you choose. Let’s discover more about this!
The most critical factor in determining whether chewing gum is good for your teeth is whether it’s sugar-free or not. Sugar is the enemy of your teeth, as it feeds harmful bacteria that lead to cavities and gum disease. Sugar-free gum, on the other hand, can actually help promote oral health!
Why? Because chewing sugar-free gum stimulates saliva production. Saliva is like nature’s mouthwash – it helps neutralise acids, wash away food particles, and remineralize tooth enamel. This natural defence mechanism can significantly reduce your risk of tooth decay.
Sugar-free gums vary in composition, and it’s important to make a wise choice.
Opt for gum brands that incorporate xylitol into their products. Xylitol isn’t just a sweetener; it’s your dental ally. This natural sugar substitute not only imparts sweetness to your gum but also acts as a guardian for your teeth. It disrupts the growth of harmful bacteria in your mouth and diminishes their capacity to adhere to your teeth, making it an excellent choice for maintaining good oral health.
Furthermore, certain chewing gums go the extra mile by fortifying their formulas with essential minerals such as calcium and phosphate. These minerals serve as a formidable barrier, fortifying your tooth enamel and rendering it more resistant to the corrosive effects of acid attacks.
One question we often get is whether chewing gum can help improve the jawline. While it won’t give you the chiselled jaw of a Hollywood actor, regular gum chewing can provide a mild workout for your jaw muscles.
This can help keep your jaw muscles toned and may alleviate some minor jaw pain or discomfort.
However, excessive gum chewing can also lead to jaw fatigue and soreness. So, if you’re looking for a jawline workout, consider other exercises in addition to chewing gum.
Chewing gum in moderation is generally not bad for you. In fact, it can actually have some benefits for your oral health and even your digestive system, as it may help with acid reflux. However, like anything else, excessive gum chewing can have negative impacts.
- TMJ Discomfort: Overindulging in gum chewing can exert undue pressure on your temporomandibular joint (TMJ), potentially setting the stage for temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD). TMD can manifest as jaw pain, persistent headaches, and difficulties when it comes to opening and closing your mouth comfortably.
- Digestive Disturbances: Excessive gum chewing may inadvertently introduce excess air into your digestive system, leading to unwelcome symptoms like bloating, gassiness, and general digestive discomfort. This can be particularly bothersome for some individuals.
- Sugar Alcohol Sensitivity: Sugar-free gums often contain sugar alcohols like xylitol and sorbitol. While these sugar substitutes are generally well-tolerated, some people may be sensitive to them. For these individuals, indulging in sugar-free gum could result in digestive upset.
So, the key takeaway here is moderation. Enjoy gum in small amounts, and if you experience any discomfort or jaw pain, it’s a sign to cut back.
Yes, you can chew gum with braces, but there are a few important considerations. Chewing gum with braces requires some extra care to avoid damaging your orthodontic appliances.
Choose Sugar-Free Gum: Always opt for sugar-free gum to protect your teeth from cavities. Sugary gum can get trapped in the braces, increasing the risk of decay.
Soft Gum: Select soft gum varieties to reduce the risk of damaging your braces or wires. Hard and sticky gums can bend wires or loosen brackets.
Chew Gently: Be mindful of your chewing technique. Don’t bite into gum with excessive force, and avoid chewing on the brackets and wires.
Check for Sugar Alcohols: Some sugar-free gums use sugar alcohols like sorbitol, which can cause digestive issues in some individuals. Be aware of any sensitivity you might have.
Keep It Clean: After chewing gum, clean your teeth and braces thoroughly to remove any residue that may have collected.
So, is chewing gum good for your teeth? The answer is a resounding yes… as long as you choose sugar-free gum. It can stimulate saliva production, help prevent tooth decay, and even freshen your breath. Just remember to select gum with dental-friendly ingredients like xylitol, and enjoy it in moderation.
While gum chewing may provide a minor workout for your jaw muscles, it won’t miraculously reshape your jawline. And, like most things in life, too much of a good thing can have negative consequences, including jaw issues and digestive discomfort.
If you have braces, you can still enjoy gum, but be cautious and choose soft, sugar-free options. Take care of your oral health, and don’t forget to maintain a regular dental hygiene routine with brushing, flossing, and regular check-ups with your dentist.
In the end, chewing gum can be a delightful addition to your daily routine, offering benefits for your oral health while satisfying your craving for something sweet. Just remember to chew responsibly, and your teeth will thank you for it.