“Shouldn’t that be healthy gums,” you’re thinking? And, of course, you’re correct. Healthy gums are extremely important not only for our dental well-being, but for our overall physical health.
But that’s a subject for another blog! Today, we’re talking about healthy gum—chewing gum, that is. Because choosing the right chewing gum can actually improve your dental health.
Oral bacteria use the foods we eat, especially sugars and simple carbs, as fuel to produce acid. These acids attack our tooth enamel, gradually weakening the minerals in the tooth surface and allowing cavities to develop. Clearly, we want to reduce these acids to help prevent decay. Luckily, our bodies have a natural defense against acid attacks—saliva.
Saliva works to protect our enamel in three ways:
Studies have concluded that chewing sugarless gum for 20 minute after a meal can help prevent cavities. Why? Because chewing gum increases saliva production. You are actually reducing the effects of harmful acids, washing food particles away from your teeth, and strengthening weakened enamel with every stick! Some artificial sweeteners are even thought to inhibit the growth of the bacteria that lead to decay.
With all that in mind, it’s also healthy to know when you shouldn’t chew gum:
While chewing sugarless gum has the potential to improve dental health, remember it should never take the place of regular brushing and flossing—still the best way to prevent cavities at home. Talk to the doctor about the possible benefits of sugarless gum at your next visit to our Humble, Texas office, and we can make recommendations based on your individual dental history. Because whether it’s healthy gums or healthy gum, we’re here to help.
Dr. Erin Gustafson was born and raised in northeast Texas, relocating to Lubbock to complete her undergraduate degree in Zoology at Texas Tech University.
Read more about Dr. Erin Gustafson