Sugar-free gum has been around for decades, and commercials and advertisements have thoroughly promoted that chewing gum helps prevent cavities. Some people find this hard to believe. Can chewing gum really prevent cavities from occurring inside the mouth?
The back molars are well known for being prime spots for cavities to occur. With their rough surfaces and deep grooves, bacteria and small food particles can easily become trapped in these teeth. Sugar-free gum allows for the increased production of saliva inside the mouth. This increased amount of saliva helps to wash away bacteria from the mouth after eating. Oral bacteria thrive on the sugars that are left behind after eating a meal, eating candy, or drinking any beverage other than water. Chewing sugar-free gum for twenty minutes after eating can help prevent tooth decay because the abundance of saliva will help to “wash away” excess sugar loving bacteria.
Of course, it is essential that you choose sugar-free gum when choosing gum that actually promotes cavity protection. Chewing gum with real sugar only feeds the bacteria inside the mouth, causing them to grow in number. Oral bacteria produce acid that help them break down food particles and sugars left behind after eating. As with all types of acid, the acids produced inside the mouth will eat their way through anything in their path – this being your tooth enamel and gum tissues, which can cause extensive damage.
Bacteria that live inside the mouth are most attracted to sugar. If you choose to chew gum that has sugar as an ingredient, you are not doing your mouth any favors. You are actually increasing the production of acid-producing bacteria and promoting damage to your oral health.
At Pacific Sky Dental, we want to help all our patients achieve a healthy smile. We are happy to recommend sugar-free chewing gum to help ward off tooth decay. For those who are not gum-chewers, brushing and rinsing after meals can help clear away food particles. Prevention and protection are the keys to optimal oral health!
Posted on behalf of Dr. Raymond Jone, Pacific Sky Dental