Americans chew a lot of gum, especially children. Many adults can remember their parents warning them away from chewing too much. Those times have been changing recently.
It’s true that gum can be bad for your teeth. Chewing regular gum can increase your risk of tooth decay because of all the sugar that is coating your teeth when you chew away for 30 minutes or more. Acids in gum break down tooth enamel and leave teeth vulnerable.
Recent studies tell a different story about sugar-free gum. According to the ADA, chewing sugar-free gum is actually GOOD for your oral health! Sugar-free gum can benefit your teeth in a couple of different ways.
When you chew sugar-free gum, your mouth becomes coated in saliva. This saliva and the chewing action itself help to wash away food particles in your teeth. This is particularly beneficial after a meal. But that’s not the only benefit your teeth get from the influx of saliva.
The saliva in your mouth contains beneficial minerals such as fluoride, calcium, and phosphate. When you chew sugar-free gum you are literally bathing your teeth in these enamel strengthening minerals.
The ADA often gives its seal of approval to products they feel are best for your teeth. You will see their seal on select toothpaste, oral rinses, and dental floss. Now, the ADA has actually given their seal of approval to some brands of sugar-free gum. Extra, Orbit, Eclipse and Wrigley all carry the ADA seal of approval.
According to the ADA’s recommendations, chewing gum 3x’s day after each meal for at least 20 minutes will help you reap the most benefits. The additional saliva the gum causes your mouth to produce will help wash away food particles from your meal.
The ADA cautions that chewing sugar-free gum is not a replacement for good oral hygiene. You should brush your teeth at least twice a day and floss at least once a day. Chewing sugar free gum is a healthy addition to your dental regimen for times when you are on the go, or right after you have finished meal.