Is Chewing Gum Bad For Your Teeth?
While chewing gum is often considered to be a flavorful treat, it has also been questioned for many years as to whether or not it is good for your teeth. According to the American Dental Association (ADA), there are a number of benefits to chewing gum—as long as you are chewing the right types! Learn more about the benefits of chewing gum for your oral health.
Which Chewing Gum Is Good For Teeth?
When picking a type of chewing gum, it is important to choose a sugar-free option that is stamped with the official ADA Seal. Gum with the ADA Seal means it has been verified by the American Dental Association as having benefits to oral health. According to the ADA: “A company earns the ADA Seal by demonstrating that its sugar-free chewing gum product meets the requirements for safety and efficacy.” The requirements for efficacy may include remineralization, the ability to aid plaque acid production, or the ability to help fight against cavities. The ADA even has a searchable list of types of gum and other products that are ADA-approved on its website.
Why Is Sugar Free Gum Good For You?
Sugar-free gum is the only type of gum that has been added to the ADA’s list of approved gums because it uses non-cavity causing sweeteners such as aspartame, sorbitol, xylitol, or mannitol. These sweeteners, particularly xylitol, have been proven in several studies to actively protect and fight against cavities. As a result, gum with xylitol has the ability to protect enamel and keep acid-producing bacteria at bay. Some of these ingredients have even shown to aid in remineralization, or the repair of weakened enamel.
The Benefits Of Chewing Gum
In addition to the ingredients used, chewing gum also provides a number of additional oral health benefits that result simply from the act of chewing! When chewing gum, your mouth will increase saliva production in an attempt to break down the gum. In oral health, saliva is the body's natural defense against plaque and bacteria that wear down tooth enamel and can cause cavities and other infections. People who frequently experience dry mouth due to a lack of saliva production are particularly at risk of an increased chance of cavities and tooth decay. Thankfully, chewing gum is actually a beneficial way to increase your saliva production and fight against the effects of dry mouth. In addition to increasing saliva production, chewing gum has also been known to:
- Help prevent cavities
- Neutralize acids produced by the bacteria in plaque on teeth
- Prevent from tooth enamel decay
- Aid in remineralization
Are There Risks To Chewing Gum?
Chewing gum with added sugar can have the opposite effect of chewing sugar-free gum in that it will lead to increased damage and plaque buildup on your teeth, thus aiding the decay of enamel and increasing your chance for cavities. Keep in mind that there are also some sugar-free gums that may not contain the ADA seal of approval—which means they have either not been tested or did not pass qualifications to receive the seal. In addition to the negative effects of sugar gum, chewing too much gum may also lead to jaw pain and headaches in some instances. As long as sugar-free gum is chewed in moderation, the benefits outweigh the negatives.
Worried About Cavities?
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