Does Chewing Gum Really Prevent Cavities?

Some habits are worse than others, and some habits are actually good for you. Smoking is a bad habit, while drinking eight glasses of water each day is a good habit. Biting your fingernails is a bad habit, while chewing gum can be a good habit. Yes, you read that correctly: chewing gum can be a good habit – one that helps to prevent cavities from occurring inside the mouth. Understanding why and knowing the right kind of gum to chew can benefit the health of your mouth and protect your smile.

Each day, your mouth is home to millions of bacteria. These bacteria occur naturally with the intention of helping your mouth stay clean. After every meal, snack, and beverage other than water, tiny particles are left behind between the teeth, in the deep grooves of the molars, and at the gum line. Oral bacteria gather around these particles and begin breaking them down. However, as they continue to work, they begin producing acids to help their work go by faster. Acids are notorious for eating their way through whatever is in their path, and inside your mouth your teeth are the barrier they attack. Cavities are created when acids eat tiny holes in the tooth enamel, making oral bacteria dangerous to your oral health.

Chewing gum helps to combat these acid producing-bacteria by increasing the amount of saliva that your mouth makes. Saliva is often overlooked as a vital component to oral health, but it is extremely important against the protection from cavities. Saliva helps to wash away food and drink particles, as well as wash excess bacteria from the mouth. A moist mouth is less likely to develop cavities simply because the bacteria are less able to attach to a slippery surface.

It is extremely important that you choose a sugar-free chewing gum. Oral bacteria are most attracted to sugar particles; therefore, putting a piece of sugar laden gum into your mouth is counterproductive. Sugar-free gum keeps the mouth moist with extra saliva production without inviting oral bacteria to have a feast on sugar particles.

At Meadowbrook Family Dental, we want everyone to achieve a healthy smile that will last a lifetime. Call today for a recommendation for sugar-free gum. Of course, chewing gum should never replace daily flossing and brushing, but it can help prevent cavities and keep your mouth fresh.

Posted on behalf of Meadowbrook Family Dental

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