June 6, 2018
Have you ever chewed gum after having a meal? Maybe back in high school your friend always had a pack on them and you’d ask for a stick in the morning before class? In some cases, chewing gum can actually benefit your oral health, according to your dentist in San Antonio. With that being said, the gum you buy makes a big difference, so you’ll want to know how to choose.
To learn the potential pros and cons of chewing gum, keep reading.
The Positives of Chewing Gum
We’re all aware of the many flavors gum comes in. Whether it’s minty or fruity, it’s a great way to get a quick burst of flavor without gaining many calories. If you need to cover up bad breath and don’t have access to your toothbrush or mouthwash, it’s a quick and simple solution. But did you know that some chewing gum is better for managing your oral health than others?
Many brands of gum are great for stimulating your saliva production as well. This keeps the mouth moist, acting as an additional deterrent to bad breath. Furthermore, more saliva production helps neutralize acids in the mouth, keeping it clean and washing away food debris.
What are the Consequences of Chewing Gum?
While chewing gum may be fine for most people, some patients need to be cautious if they have a pre-existing jaw condition, such as temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD.) This constant chewing motion can exacerbate the condition, causing jaw pain, headaches, and increased difficulty chewing, speaking, and yawning.
Additionally, many chewing gums contain high amounts of sugar, which cause your mouth to produce more acids and lower its pH balance. The more acidic your mouth is, the more likely tooth decay will occur. Sugar also makes the mouth dryer, counteracting the saliva production that already occurs.
Your Dentist’s Conclusion
At the end of the day, chewing gum can make managing your oral health easier, but only if you choose the right type of gum. You can forget about the classic gumballs at your local diner or sticks that don’t carry an ADA-approved seal. These are typically high in sugar which contribute to tooth decay, or contain artificial sweeteners which contribute to the development of serious diseases, including:
- Heart disease
- Birth defects
- Neurological and emotional disorders
However, choosing a gum that uses Xylitol, a helpful additive, can actually help reduce your risk of developing cavities and plaque. This natural sweetener is considered okay by dental professionals and even helps teeth remineralize more quickly. It also tastes similar to sugar, so you get an added benefit without any risk. Another additive worth mentioning, known as calcium lactate, also aids in the remineralization process of enamel surfaces.
While chewing gum should never replace brushing and flossing, your dentist in San Antonio can’t recommend it enough as long as it’s sugar-free! To get his recommendations, schedule an appointment with him today!
About the Author
Dr. Christopher J. Holland earned his Doctor of Dental Surgery degree from the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio. He believes the only way to give patients the best care is to stay updated on the constantly developing techniques, treatments, and technologies in dentistry. To learn more about his practice, contact him through his website.