Is chewing gum good for my oral health?
The chewing of non-food items has been very popular in human history. A primitive form of chewing gum made of tree resin was very popular in ancient Egypt. Now days you can find a variety of chewing gums at your local grocery store and gas station. Chewing gums come in a variety of colors, shapes, and flavors. Traditionally chewing gums were sweetened with sugar, which contribute to dental caries. Today, however, many chewing gums are sweetened with sugar substitutes. Chewing gums that are free of sugars do not have detrimental effects on promoting tooth decay. Gum chewing helps stimulate saliva production in the mouth to protect the teeth. The increased saliva production helps buffer acids in the mouth and produce beneficial antimicrobial compounds to reduce bacterial buildup on the teeth.
Here are the five common questions people often have about oral health benefits of chewing gums.
Can chewing gum clean teeth effectively?
In recent years, researchers have looked into this question seriously. In controlled studies, a set of patients were given sugar free chewing gum and another set of patients were not. Dental plaque was measured for both groups and compared. The researchers found that chewing gum did not adequately remove plaque from either the treatment or the control patient group. The researcher concluded that chewing gum cannot substitute for brushing and flossing.
Is chewing gum effective at promoting saliva flow?
In clinical studies, researchers studied the effects of saliva flow in patients who chew gum four times a day for eight weeks had increase saliva flow rate. After these patients stop chewing gum, they still had an elevated saliva flow rate. This would indicate that oral health effects of saliva can be maintained if patients chew gum.
Does chewing gum help buffer the mouth from pH change?
It is well accepted that chewing gum promotes saliva flow, and saliva has a major effect in controlling plaque pH. The increase flow of saliva helps buffer the mouth from wide pH changes because of the increase bicarbonate concentration increases acid buffering capacity.
Does chewing gum help reduce gingivitis?
The increase flow of saliva and acid buffering capacity of saliva can help fight the bacteria that causes gingivitis. Saliva contains a complex mixture of cells that fight bacteria and antimicrobial properties that makes the mouth an unpleasant place for bacteria. However, you should not solely rely on chewing gum to clean your teeth. Brushing and flossing is the most effective way to remove plaque buildup.
The verdict to chew or not chew gum?
Chewing gum to help promote saliva production after a meal can be beneficial. However, you should refrain from chewing sugar containing gums. Despite the benefits of saliva production, if sugar remains in your mouth this will increase bacterial activity in your mouth which will lead to tooth decay. Sugar free gums should be enjoyed as a food, but gums should not be use as the sole means to clean teeth. Chewing gum alone cannot replace the proven benefits of brushing and flossing after each meal. Brushing and flossing is much more effective at removing food debris and plaque on the surfaces of the tooth.
If you have questions or concerns about your oral health, please give California Dental Group a call at (800) 407-0161 to learn how we can help you keep your smile bright and healthy.