Gum is definitely one of the top fan-favorites when it comes to candy. From a long-lasting chew to blowing bubbles, it’s no wonder why kids love it. But is chewing gum actually bad for you? Or is it true that gum helps keep the bad bacteria away from your teeth?
Here, we’ll dive into some of the surprising benefits of chewing gum and some of the common myths about this sweet treat.
Chewing Gum: Is It Good or Bad for Your Teeth?
It’s actually true that chewing gum can help to improve your smile. However, the gum’s success depends entirely on the type you choose. Sugary gum can actually be harmful to your teeth because you’re leaving food particles behind on your enamel for the bacteria in your mouth to snack on.
As the bacteria eat these sugary particles, they release acids that wear away at your teeth’s protective layer and create cavities. It’s important to visit your child’s pediatric dentist at least once every six months to help keep cavities from forming in your child’s teeth or, if they’ve already formed, to treat them before they become worse. According to the CDC, approximately one in every seven kids has at least one untreated decayed tooth.
However, if the gum is sugarless, chewing gum can do a lot of good for your dental health. In fact, the American Dental Association actually recommends that kids and adults alike chew sugarless gum to help prevent cavities. But how exactly does sugarless gum prevent cavities from forming? The answer is your saliva flow.
When you chew gum, your salivary glands release saliva to help dissolve the candy. While saliva helps to dissolve food before you digest it, it also helps to support your teeth. Saliva washes away the food and beverage particles left behind in your mouth after eating and drinking. This helps to prevent the bacteria in your mouth from feeding on these particles, releasing acids, and causing cavities.
Saliva flow also helps to support your teeth by naturally strengthening their protective layer: your enamel. Saliva contains calcium and phosphate, which help to give your enamel the support it needs to fight back against bacteria. If your kids like gum, consider giving them a sugarless piece to chew on about 20 minutes after they eat. This will help to stimulate their saliva flow so they get all the benefits of chewing gum and preventing cavities.
What Else Can Chewing Gum Do for You?
As we said before, it’s a good idea to make sure that the gum you’re chewing is sugarless so make sure you get all the benefits of chewing gum without any of the downsides. Chewing gum has advantages to your health aside from keeping cavities away. Some of the other benefits to chewing gum include:
- Keeps bad breath away: Not only does chewing minty gum help your breath smell minty-fresh, but because it stimulates your saliva flow it also helps wash away the bacteria in your mouth that cause bad breath to begin with.
- Provides stress relief: According to a study published in the Journal of Clinical and Translational Research, chewing gum for an extended period of time can help you feel less stressed out.
- Whitens teeth: Saliva flow not only helps to fresh breath and fight back against cavities. It also helps to keep food particles and beverages from staining your teeth like coffee and soda. This is because gum helps to keep the particles from settling on your teeth.
Make sure to visit your dentist
While chewing sugarless gum is a great way to help keep cavities at bay, it’s important to make sure that both you and your kids are going to visit your dentist regularly. Pediatric dentists help to make sure that your child’s teeth are coming in correctly, that your child is brushing their teeth correctly, and that your child doesn’t have any oral health problems that need to be addressed. It’s also important to visit your child’s pediatric dentist regularly because it helps to establish good dental health care habits for your kids.
If you’re looking for experienced pediatric dentists in Dulles VA or the surrounding areas, we’ve got you covered. Smilez Pediatric Dental Group is one of the top family dental practices in VA. To learn more about our family dentistry services or to schedule an appointment with us, contact Smilez Pediatric Dental Group today.