Gum gets a bad rap.
We tell our kids not to chew it in school and ban it from the mouths of braces-wearing teens. Blowing bubbles is seen as rude, and snapping, cracking, and popping your gum is generally frowned upon.
We make gum into the bad guy, but is that fair to the chewy substance?
Turns out our preconceived notions about gum might be a little wrong. In fact, this post is all about correcting the misunderstanding that all gum is a treat-like candy. We want to give gum the credit it deserves!
Because get this..it’s not all blow pops and Hubba Bubba. The right kind of gum is actually great for your teeth, and even ancient civilizations enjoyed a good chew sometimes (though theirs was made of various tree saps…yum).
We’re mind readers, so you’re probably now wondering “okay – what is the right kind of gum?”
Fantastic question! We’re getting there.
The short answer is sugarless gum is the right kind of gum. This gum is sweetened with sugarless sweetener like aspartame, xylitol, sorbitol, or mannitol that completely lack the large amounts of sugar that help plaque acid grow.
Not only does sugarless gum lack the bad, plaque growing properties of sugar-containing gum, the act of chewing the gum itself is beneficial to your teeth.
The motion of chewing gum increases the flow of saliva to the mouth, which in turn has some great effects:
- Increased saliva-flow displaces food debris stuck in small nooks and crannies in between teeth
- Saliva neutralizes the harmful acids found in the mouth after eating foods like citrus fruit and juices – these acids break down tooth enamel and facilitate conditions for tooth decay
- Saliva contains calcium and phosphate that strengthen tooth enamel by replacing minerals depleted by the eating process (which is why dentists recommend chewing sugar free gum roughly 20 minutes after a meal)
What’s chewing gum made of?
A few different things, but in general they contain:
- Gum base
- Artificial sweetener (like the ones listed above)
- Softeners (glycerin or vegetable oil products)
- Flavor and color
Which gum should I buy?
The American Dental Association approved kind! This means that the ADA has evaluated the brand to make sure that it is safe and effective at cleaning your teeth. This means that it is an effective plaque-reducer, mineralization agent, cavity reducer, etc.
Here is a list of ADA approved gums for you to try out:
- 5 Sugarfree Gum
- Bazooka Sugar Free Bubble Gum (original & blue razz)
- Eclipse Sugarfree Gum
- Extra Sugarfree Gum
- Icebreakers Ice Cubes
- Orbit for Kids Sugarfree Gum
- Orbit Sugarfree Gum
- Stride Sugarless Gum
- Trident Sugarfree Gum
But don’t forget…
Chewing sugarfree gum can never replace the acts of brushing and flossing your teeth. It’s a fantastic habit to get into, but only as a supplement to a pre-existing healthy dental routine.
And NOTHING replaces coming in to see Dr. Chauvin or your own dentist for yearly cleanings. Give us a call at (337) 234-2186 today to schedule your next appointment!