In addition to keeping your breath fresh, sugar-free chewing gum offers several oral health benefits. Chewing gum can help whiten teeth, increase saliva production, and prevent gum disease. Many sugar-free chewing gum choices are ADA-accepted, so keep an eye on the label the next time you’re shopping for some.
The Arroyo Center for Aesthetic Dentistry in Washington, DC is committed to helping patients achieve healthy, beautiful smiles that last a lifetime. Learn four ways chewing gum can improve your oral health.
1. Whitening Teeth
Teeth naturally become discolored as we age, and many common habits can lead to discoloration as well. Smoking, drinking coffee, or eating highly-pigmented foods can stain the teeth, which makes some people seek teeth whitening treatments.
There are some chewing gum options available that can prevent staining in the first place, covering the teeth in a protective coating that prevents stain-causing particles to penetrate the enamel. While toothpaste and at-home whitening kits can provide good results, you might consider using a whitening gum that can act as a preventive step.
2. Increasing Saliva Flow
Saliva keeps your mouth feeling comfortable, but it also has an important job. Saliva helps wash away oral bacteria and food particles that destroy tooth enamel, and it also keeps the mouth at the correct pH level for digestion. A dry mouth increases the amount of oral bacteria, and chewing gum stimulates saliva production to remove the bacteria.
How does chewing gum increase saliva, though? When you chew, muscles compress the salivary glands in the mouth, which release saliva to keep the mouth moist. Increasing saliva production by chewing gum after eating will help keep the mouth clean.
3. Combating Bad Breath
Everyone experiences bad breath, and there are many causes. Sometimes it’s simply a result of a fragrant meal, but it may also be a symptom of oral health conditions such as dry mouth or gum disease. If you have persistent bad breath, you might want to see your dentist.
For the occasional bad breath day, you might turn to the minty or fruity smells of sugar-free gum to temporarily mask bad breath. Chewing gum also stimulates saliva production which removes odor-causing oral bacteria.
4. Preventing Tooth Decay
In addition to keeping your mouth comfortable, saliva helps wash away leftover food particles and tooth decay-causing oral bacteria. Saliva carries nutrients and chemicals like calcium and fluoride which help strengthen tooth enamel. Since chewing gum increases saliva production, it helps prevent tooth decay when paired with a healthy oral hygiene regimen.
According to studies, people can reduce tooth decay just by chewing sugar-free gum for 20 minutes after eating. While chewing gum doesn’t replace regular brushing and flossing, consider the benefits of chewing gum as a helpful addition to your oral care routine.
Comprehensive Dental Care in Washington, DC
Sugar free gum offers several benefits to your oral health, but it can’t completely replace your at-home oral health care routine and regular visits with your dentist. If it has been a while since your last visit, schedule an appointment with us online or call our office at (202) 525-6913.