If you think of gum merely as a popular member of the candy family, there’s a lot more you need to learn about what you’re chewing – and what it can do for you. Specifically, you should know that sugarless chewing gum that has been approved by the American Dental Association (ADA), is scientifically proven to be good for you teeth.
You’ve probably noticed that the very act of chewing in general when you eat automatically increases your mouth’s flow of saliva. And if you chew sugarless gum after eating, it also increases saliva. That extra saliva bath for your teeth and gums can help neutralize and wash away the acids from food that break down enamel –and can lead to decay. Increased saliva flow also carries with it more calcium and phosphate to help strengthen your tooth enamel.
Studies have shown that 20 minutes of chewing sugarless gum after eating can help prevent tooth decay.
Long before the invention of the toothbrush, humans used chewing to help clean their teeth. In one form or another, chewing gum has been around for thousands of years.
- Ancient Greeks chewed mastiche, sap of the mastic tree
- Ancient Mayans chewed tsiclte, sap of the aspodillia tree
- Native Americans of New England chewed sap from the spruce tree
Today, sugarless chewing gum is made of a blend of synthetic gum base, softeners, artificial, non-cavity causing sweeteners, flavorings and colors. But the positive effects are the same.
That doesn’t mean chewing gum can replace your other dental care efforts
Chewing sugarless gum should only be part of your overall oral health routine, however. You must still brush with a fluoride toothpaste and floss twice a day, and visit the dentist twice a year.
In the future, gum might be developed to deliver additional therapeutic benefits, beyond what it is able to provide now. Some day, gum might contain active agents that could increase the ability it already has to help re-mineralize teeth, reduce decay, plaque and gingivitis.
Right now, call 847-223-5200 for your appointment. (You’ll have to spit out your gum before your exam!)