Believe it or not, chewing gum has been around for ages…literally! Researchers believe that people started chewing gum in the Neolithic period, which began around 12,000 years ago. So what accounts for the universal appeal of chewing gum? For starters, chewing gum freshens the breath, not to mention that many people simply enjoy having something to chew on. But does chewing gum get the seal of approval from a dentist in Highland Village? The answer depends because chewing gum isn’t created equal – some varieties are beneficial and some are harmful. So, if you like chewing gum and want to know what to choose for great oral health, keep reading to learn more!
What Should You Look For in Chewing Gum?
The first rule when it comes choosing gum will come as no surprise: choose a sugar-free version! Unfortunately, regularly chewing gum that contains sugar will practically guarantee that you’ll develop cavities, particularly if it’s a daily habit.
In addition to paying attention to what gum doesn’t have (sugar), you also want to look at what it does have. Here are two ingredients that can strengthen your teeth and reduce the risk of getting cavities:
- Xylitol – This natural sweetener is considered beneficial for teeth because it kills the bacteria that cause cavities.
- Calcium Lactate – When this ingredient is combined with xylitol, it goes one step further by actually strengthening the enamel.
Gum with either or both of these ingredients is great for after meals when a toothbrush isn’t available.
In addition, another benefit of any sugar-free gum is that it stimulates salivary flow, which is helpful in multiple ways. Not only does it wash away plaque and food debris and keep the mouth moist, but it also neutralizes the acids in the mouth that cause cavities.
Are There Any Drawbacks of Chewing Gum?
Chewing gum regularly can stress and strain the jaw joints and muscles, so it’s not recommended for patients with pre-existing jaw conditions, such as temporomandibular disorder (TMD).
Finally, remember that chewing the right gum is a wonderful way to keep your mouth fresh and healthy in between meals, but it’s never a substitute for brushing and flossing. Good hygiene habits and regular dental care are always the foundation of a healthy mouth!
About the Author
Dr. Autumn Griffin is a general, restorative and cosmetic dentist in Highland Village who knows that the daily choices and habits of her patients have a huge impact on their oral health. In addition to providing outstanding dental care, she always takes the time to help her patients understand which oral care products to use. If you have any questions, she can be contacted via her website or at 469-444-6500.