Chewing gum that has sugar can be harmful to your teeth, and regularly chewing it can potentially lead to dental decay. Sugar-free gum, on the other hand, can be safely chewed and doing so even has certain benefits. Here’s what you should know.
Why you should chew only sugar-free gum
Your mouth is full of bacteria that eat the sugars left behind on your teeth after you have a snack or meal. When you consume sugar, you’re feeding these harmful bacteria and making your mouth more acidic, thereby increasing your risk of developing cavities. That’s why chewing gum that contains sugar is unhealthy for your teeth.
Specifically, it’s important to avoid chewing gum made with sucrose. This type of sugar is easily consumed by the harmful bacteria in your mouth. Additionally, most sugary chewing gum is flavoured with citric acid, which will increase the acidity in your mouth even more.
The benefits of chewing sugar-free gum
Chewing sugar-free gum has numerous benefits for your oral health. In fact, chewing gum increases the flow of saliva, which helps wash away food particles and harmful bacteria. Saliva also contains minerals such as calcium and phosphate which help rebuild and strengthen weak tooth enamel.
Though chewing gum with sugar will also promote saliva production, any benefits are cancelled out since you’d be feeding the harmful bacteria in your mouth at the same time.
Some brands of sugar-free chewing gum are sweetened with Xylitol, a natural chemical that scientific studies have shown reduces the number of harmful mouth bacteria and neutralizes the acids they produce.
Another ingredient to look for is Recaldent, which is the brand name for phosphopeptide-amorphous calcium phosphate (CPP-ACP). Chewing gum with Recaldent delivers phosphate and calcium ions to your teeth, repairing and strengthening tooth enamel damaged by acids.
Although there are benefits to chewing sugar-free gum, doing so should never be used as a substitute for brushing and flossing your teeth. In addition, it’s important to see a dentist regularly for a dental cleaning and checkup.
Family dentistry in SE Calgary
Forest Lawn Dental Centre has helped keep mouths healthy in Calgary for more than 17 years. We offer general and cosmetic dentistry for the whole family, and in particular, we’re proud to offer friendly and caring dental services for children. Contact us today to schedule an appointment with Dr. Sandhu and his team.