Whether or not chewing gum is good for your teeth depends on the kind of gum. Chewing the right kind of gum can help prevent tooth decay. Chewing gum, or really chewing most things, can help your mouth to produce more saliva. Saliva is great for your mouth—it helps to rinse out food debris left behind, avoid dry mouth, and neutralizes acids that can cause tooth decay. Both the act of chewing and the flavor of gum can stimulate saliva flow and multiple it significantly. There is a mineral that is generated by extra saliva that can actually help to strengthen the enamel on your teeth and reduce the risk of dental decay.
Chewing gum after a meal can be especially beneficial as it helps you remove food particles left behind from your meal and protects your teeth. However, if you are chewing gum that contains sugar, it may be more harmful than helpful. Sugary gum can increase your risk of cavities. If you’re looking to chew gum to benefit your oral health, go sugar-free.
If chewing your gum is causing your jaw pain—stop. You may have temporomandibular disorder symptoms or TMJ. This is manifested in jaw pain and can be worsened by chewing gum. If you think this is the case, refrain from chewing gum and talk to your dentist or an oral surgeon about options for TMJ treatment.
Most sugar-free gum is sweetened with xylitol. There have been many clinical studies that have revealed that chewing gum with xylitol is good for your oral health. If you want to be sure that you are chewing a gum that will improve your oral health—look for the American Dental Association seal of approval on the packaging.
These artificial sweeteners still taste very sweet. You can easily satisfy your sweet tooth while still protecting your teeth. There are so many options for you at the checkout line at the grocery store—just be sure that you’re looking for options with no sugar and possibly the seal of approval.
Harden Tooth Enamel
Certain gum manufacturers have started to use casein phosphatide amorphous calcium phosphate—a substance that can actually harden tooth enamel. The enamel on your teeth is protecting them from tooth decay.
Overall, there are many benefits to chewing certain gums, and some dangers of chewing other gums. Chewing some dentist-approved, sugar-free gum could save you from some from tooth decay down the line. So next time you’re craving something sweet, chomp on some sugar-free gum to satisfy that craving and fight cavities. Your teeth will thank you!