America chews a lot of gum; in 2016, the average American consumed 1.8 pounds of this sticky snack! Although this may seem like overkill, surprisingly, there are benefits to incorporating this activity into your daily routine.
Interestingly enough, gum helps produce saliva, which is your mouths first defense against bacteria. Saliva controls bacteria by rinsing your mouth of acids that are produced from the food and beverages you consume. In fact, a lack of saliva can cause serious oral diseases.
Chewing Increases Saliva Flow
Research indicates that chewing gum after a meal for about 20 minutes reduces tooth decay by allowing the increase in saliva flow. Saliva works to bathe your teeth from the bacteria and food particles you have collected and aid in the transfer of nutrients to your enamel.
Additionally, saliva neutralizes the acidic level after a meal; also helping to reduce heartburn.
Gum Must be Sugar-Free
Make sure to select a gum that is sugar-free, that way you won’t be adding any additional tooth decaying elements to the mix.
Sugar and decay are best friends as far as oral health is concerned. Bacteria thrives in a sugary environment, so make sure you stick to sugarless.
Although it may seem like you’ll be missing out on all the fun flavors found in sugar gum, sugar-free gum has just as nice of a selection and still tastes sweet! Actually, sugar-free gums are sweetened; instead of sugar, xylitol, aspartame, mannitol, or sorbitol are used to provide a sweet flavor. The reason these ingredients do not harm your teeth is that your saliva isn’t capable of processing them.
Does Chewing Gum Replace Brushing and Flossing?
The answer is: no! Although chewing sugar-free gum can help increase your saliva, brushing and flossing twice a day are the only sure-fire way to remove plaque from your teeth and gum-line.
Practice the Following
Although we recommend picking up some sugar-free gum, you should keep in mind:
- Even though xylitol is safe for humans, it is not for dogs. Keep your gum away from your furry friend!
- If you swallow your gum, relax, you will be fine; however, do not make this a habit. Your digestive system can’t handle a buildup of gum in your system; if you continue to swallow, intestinal blockage could occur. Supervise youngsters when they are chewing gum and explain the importance of spitting it out after they are done.
- Avoid gum if you have braces. Unfortunately, metal brackets are prone to bend or break due to this sticky snack.
Want to learn more about the benefits of sugar-free gum? Your dentist will be able to inform you and recommend a brand for you!