For over 100 years, Americans have been chewing gum for enjoyment and out of habit. Used frequently as a breath freshener and as a means to break bad habits (e.g. smoking or biting fingernails), chewing gum also has another benefit: preventing cavities from developing inside the mouth. While this may sound too good to be true, chewing the right kind of gum can benefit the health of your mouth and protect your smile.
Every day, there are millions of bacteria that are present inside your mouth. These bacteria congregate around the tiny particles that are left behind after eating and drinking. Sugar particles are their favorite, and they will congregate in large quantities around even the smallest amount of sugar. As these bacteria gather to break down particles, they begin to create acids to help them work faster. Any beneficial way that helps the mouth combat bacteria producing-acids can help prevent cavities from developing in the teeth.
Saliva is often overlooked as an essential element of oral health. Saliva helps to wash away food and drink particles after a meal or snack, and saliva also helps to wash bacteria out of the mouth. A dry mouth is the perfect place for bacteria to linger, so increasing the amount of saliva inside the mouth is very beneficial. Chewing gum helps to increase the amount of saliva the mouth produces, thus helping to prevent cavities. Of course, it is essential that you choose sugar-free chewing gum! Gum that is laden with sugar only feeds the bacteria and entices them to produce more acids, adding destruction to the mouth.
Chewing gum is not meant to replace flossing and brushing your teeth. Flossing daily and brushing your teeth at least twice a day are the greatest components to a healthy mouth. However, adding sugar-free chewing gum to your day can help to prevent cavities. If you suffer from TMJ, speak with your dentist first as constant chewing can put strain on your jaw joint.
At Gainesville Dental Group, we want to encourage everyone to do their part to obtain a healthy smile that will last a lifetime. Contact our practice for a recommendation on a sugar-free chewing gum to help ward off decay.
Posted on behalf of Gainesville Dental Group