Dr. Jana Ikeda, DDS - Boulder Dentist | Choose The Right Chewing Gum
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Choose The Right Chewing Gum

25 Sep Choose The Right Chewing Gum

Humans have been chewing gum, in some form, since the time of the Ancient Greeks. Many ancient and medieval civilizations chewed sap from local trees as a way to clean their teeth and freshen their breath. Mediterranean cultures chewed sap from the mastic tree, Native Americans in what is now New England chewed spruce tree sap, whereas the Aztecs used that from the sapodilla tree.

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It turns out that these ancient cultures were on to something. Chewing gum has been proven to stimulate the production of saliva, which helps neutralize and wash away harmful acids from your teeth after eating. If left unattended, these acids can erode a tooth’s enamel, leaving it susceptible to bacteria and gum disease. The act of chewing and the flavor of the artificial sweeteners in the gum stimulate ten times the normal rate of saliva flow.

canchewinggumbegoodforyourteethWhile some of us may associate gum with candy, sugar-free gum can have a very positive effect on your oral health. Some gums even have additives that are extra beneficial for your teeth. Xylitol, a common ingredient in sugar-free gum, inhibits the growth of Streptococcus mutans, one of the oral bacteria that cause cavities.

All told, chewing gum can be a great way to keep your teeth clean and your breath fresh, but ONLY is it’s sugar-free. As of now, the American Dental Association has only given their endorsement to gums that contain sweeteners that do not cause cavities.

And remember, chewing gum is never a substitute for regular brushing and flossing!