Does Chewing Gum Really Prevent Cavities?

Chewing gum has been used for centuries by people all over the world. Many people choose to chew gum to freshen their breath after meals. Some use it as a stress reliever during busy meetings. While still others use it as a distraction while they are quitting smoking. Whether you chew gum for its flavor or as a habit, the type of gum you chew has a huge impact on your oral health.

One essential element of oral health is something very few people give much thought to: saliva. Saliva production is a necessary component to warding off cavities because it helps to wash food particles and bacteria away from the teeth. When the mouth is dry, bacteria build up and harden on the teeth, making it much harder to clean them out of the mouth. Chewing gum promotes the production of saliva to help keep the mouth moist and less likely to ensue larger amounts of bacteria.

Oral bacteria naturally occur inside the mouth with the purpose of helping to break down food and sugar particles that become trapped in the teeth after eating and drinking. As these bacteria go to work to break down the particles, they begin producing acid to assist them. It is these acids that do the most damage to the teeth – eating their way through anything in their path. Obviously, this would be your tooth enamel. This is how cavities are formed, by acids creating holes in the teeth. Because bacteria are most attracted to sugars in the foods and beverages that you consume, it is essential that you chew sugar-free gum to ward off cavity development. If you chew gum laden with sugar, you are creating a breeding ground for acid-producing bacteria to thrive. Sugar-free chewing gum can benefit the entire mouth by keeping it moist and staving off bacterial growth.

Of course, chewing sugar-free gum should never take the place of proper oral health care. Flossing daily and brushing your teeth at least twice a day must always be a top priority in your oral health. However, for those who enjoy chewing gum, sugar-free gum can prevent cavities. Contact South Texas Dental to learn more and to ask about our recommendation for sugar-free gum. We are here to help with all your dentistry needs.

Posted on Behalf of South Texas Dental 

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