Millions of people all over the United States enjoy chewing gum. According to expert estimates, about $2 billion in chewing gum is sold in the U.S. every year. That amounts to about 100,000 tons of the gooey stuff, produced by about 30 companies.
But, is gum dangerous for your teeth? At Tribeca Dental Care, we have the facts.
Processed sugar is perhaps the most potent enemy of healthy teeth. Consuming lots of sugary foods, beverages – and, yes, gum – can increase the risk of cavities. This is true whether you’re eight years old or 80.
Many harmful bacteria feed on sugar while they try to colonize your mouth. The more sugar you consume, the more acid they can create. The acid, in turn, can eat through the enamel of your teeth and cause cavities and other problems.
Sugar-Free Gum May Actually Help With Dental Health
When it comes to the big question on chewing gum, it’s sugar-free gum to the rescue.
According to the American Dental Association, sugar-free gum can help in the battle against tooth decay. Chewing sugar-free gum stimulates saliva production, which can gently wash those acids produced by bacteria off the surfaces of teeth. Saliva also carries with it important minerals that are used by your body to naturally rebuild tooth enamel.
The ADA claims chewing sugarless gum for 20 minutes after meals helps prevent tooth decay.
Some special chewing gum is actually produced with dental health in mind:
- Xylitol is a natural sweetener and sugar substitute that limits bacterial proliferation;
- CPP-ACP gum, known by the trade name “Recaldent,” can strengthen your enamel.
What’s the Final Word on Chewing Gum and Your Teeth?
Consumed in moderation and followed by regular brushing, even old-fashioned sugary chewing gum will probably have a limited effect on dental health. Nowadays, though, there’s no reason not to go for one of the healthier options that can help protect your teeth.
So, enjoy that gum – but always remember to brush and floss every single day. Even people who do their best in trying to keep their teeth clean and safe need to visit the dentist regularly so that tooth decay can be treated before it advances too far.