Dentist Digest Monthly: Is Chewing Gum Bad For Your Teeth?

Dentist Digest Monthly - Is Chewing Gum Bad For Your Teeth
During their biannual dental cleanings, many of our patients have asked about whether or not chewing gum is bad for their teeth—particularly if we found cavities. While it is easy to blame things like gum chewing for cavities, there are some instances where gum can actually protect your teeth!

Whether chewing gum is good or bad for your teeth will depend on a variety of factors. In short, sugar-free gum with xylitol can help your teeth, while sugared gum can increase plaque. If you are interested in learning more, our dentists here at Bridge Creek Dental are here to help.

Sugar-Free Chewing Gum Can Be Good For Your Teeth

One of the simplest things that gum—of any variety—can do for you is to increase the amount of saliva flow in your mouth. This increased saliva helps to breakdown food particles and wash away debris that attracts bad oral bacteria. It also helps prevent dry mouth.

Beyond the saliva production benefits, you should be sure to choose sugar-free gum with xylitol when you are looking to chew gum. Studies have shown that the sugar alcohol xylitol in gum can help reduce the amount of harmful oral bacteria significantly, assisting in preventing tooth decay. Also, as the bad bacteria is reduced, bad breath is also reduced.

So, if you are looking for ways to support your dental hygiene in between preventative cleanings by our dental staff, you may want to consider chewing sugar-free gum.

Consider These Things Before Chomping On Gum

Now, if you choose sugared gum rather than sugar-free gum, you will have the opposite effect on your dental health. Instead of supporting your teeth, full-sugar gum will directly deposit sugar onto your teeth, attracting the harmful oral bacteria that will eat the sugar and excrete acid onto your teeth.

This acid can erode your enamel, making it easier for cavities to form. Also, as you chew sugary gum, your teeth will develop more plaque, which can contribute to gum disease. So, if you are picking a gum, make sure that it is sugar-free gum, preferably one that contains xylitol.

Also, a side-effect of chewing gum—any kind of gum—can be the loosening of your fillings, veneers, crowns, and bridge. The gum can also become tangled with any fixed dental work you have, so you should be cautious when chewing gum if you have dental work that can either become loose or gummed up.

Lastly, there has been some research that has linked chewing gum with temporomandibular disorder (TMJ). This disorder causes you to feel pain as you chew, so if your jaw is starting to feel sore, you may want to take a break from chewing gum.

No Amount Of Chewing Gum Replaces Your Billings, MT Dentist

Even with the benefits of chewing sugar-free gum, nothing can replace your regular dental appointments with your Billings, MT dentist.

If you are ready to come in for your biannual cleaning or need other dental services, please contact us today to set up your appointment and don’t leave it all up to your gums.

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