June 23, 2020

Is Chewing Gum Good or Bad for Cavity Prevention?

Filed under: Uncategorized — allheart_dental @ 6:09 pm

Woman chewing sugarless gum to prevent cavities in ArlingtonIt’s common knowledge that regularly brushing your teeth and avoiding eating too much candy are essential for preventing cavities. However, that’s not the only way to reduce your risk of tooth decay! Researchers are beginning to discover that chewing gum may be able to help you keep your smile healthy and strong as well. Read on as your Arlington dentist gets to the bottom of whether gum is good or bad for cavity prevention.

Doesn’t Candy Cause Tooth Decay?

You’ve probably heard many times that candy causes tooth decay, which is mostly true. Plaque and bacteria naturally build up on your teeth and gums throughout the day. When they feed off the sugars in the foods you eat, they produce an acid that can burn through your enamel. The more sugar you eat, the more acid is produced, and the more quickly tooth decay can develop. Most candy contains high amounts of sugar and can easily stick to areas of the mouth that are difficult to clean, like behind your back molars or between your teeth. The longer these particles linger there, the longer plaque and bacteria are able to feed off them and damage your enamel.

How Can Chewing Gum Prevent Cavities?

However, despite candy’s notorious reputation for causing tooth decay, researchers are discovering that a certain treat can have the opposite effect: chewing gum. Chewing sugarless gum encourages the production of saliva, your body’s natural defense against cavities. Studies indicate that the increase of saliva caused by chewing gum can:

  • Wash away lingering food particles and bacteria that have accumulated on your teeth.
  • Neutralize the cavity-causing acids produced by plaque.
  • Carry minerals like calcium and phosphate to the enamel, which strengthens it.

Does It Matter What Type of Gum You Chew?

However, it’s essential to remember that chewing gum can only help prevent cavities if it’s sugarless. Sugar-containing gum will also increase saliva production, but it will simultaneously fuel the bacteria and plaque that cause tooth decay. Sugarless gums with the American Dental Association’s Seal of Approval are sweetened with aspartame, xylitol, sorbitol or mannitol, which don’t cause cavities. This means you’ll be able to enjoy a sweet treat and fresher breath without increasing your risk of tooth decay.

Remember, chewing sugarless gum can’t replace regular brushing and flossing. Great oral hygiene is the best way to keep your mouth clean and cavity free and should never be substituted for chewing gum. However, research shows that snacking on a sugarless piece of gum after a meal can be a worthwhile supplement to your dental routine to keep your smile healthy.

About the Practice

At AllHeart Dental, we strive to make optimal oral health an achievable goal for all families in Irving, Red Oak, Grand Prairies, and Arlington, TX. That’s why we proudly offer excellent family dentistry, extended evenings and weekend hours, and long-lasting preventive care. We always do our best to stop problems like tooth decay before they can develop and educate our patients on the best ways to care for their oral health at home. However, if any problems are detected, we use the latest dental technology and techniques to ensure you get the most comfortable and effective results possible. If you have more questions about preventing cavities, feel free to reach us via our website or our Arlington office at (817) 308-0966.

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