We tend to find gum in the candy aisle next to tooth-destroying sweets, but chewing gum, provided that it’s sugarless, really can help your teeth stay clean and strong! In today’s blog, our Charleston dentist explains why.
How Chewing Gum Helps Teeth
The American Dental Association confirms that chewing sugarless gum for just twenty minutes after eating has been shown to reduce tooth decay. This is because chewing stimulates the salivary glands in our mouths, and our saliva controls bacteria growth. Even though it’s pretty harmless to us, our saliva is just acidic enough to kill tooth bacteria, while alkaline enough to neutralize enamel-destroying acids from food. The more saliva you make, the healthier your teeth will be. Pretty cool, huh?
Why Sugar-Free Gum?
In order to realize the oral health benefits of chewing gum, you’ll need to stick with (get it?) a sugar-free brand. Sugary gum and candy cause the bacteria in your mouth to live long, healthy lives and start families. We’re kidding, but we’re not kidding about the fact that more sugar will damage your teeth. Bacteria love sugar, and once they eat it, they convert it into enamel-destroying acid. As magical as our saliva is, there’s only so much it can do when overwhelmed by the opposition.
The Best Sugar-Free Gum for Your Teeth: Xylitol
Any sugarless gum is beneficial to your oral health, but the brands preferred by dentists are flavored with something called xylitol. Despite the pharmaceutical-sounding name, xylitol is a naturally occurring substance found in most plant material, including many fruits and vegetables. It is sometimes called a “mousetrap” for oral bacteria because it is one of very few substances that actually kill bacteria that eat it. After bacteria ingest it, they are no longer able to absorb glucose, and end up starving to death.
A quick warning for dog lovers, however: Xylitol is highly toxic to canines. Make sure to keep your sugarless gum high up out of reach, and check out other xylitol-containing products to watch out for. LCDA
Need a General Dentist in Charleston?
If you need a dental cleaning, tooth whitening treatment, or other dental procedure in Charleston, be sure to contact Lowcountry Dental Arts. We will ensure you feel right at home while we give you expert dental care. To request an appointment, click here!