November 30, 2015
Like most dentists, we tend to advise our patients to avoid sweet foods, candies, and beverages as much as possible to promote strong and healthy teeth. But while abstinence from many sugary foods is one of the golden rules of oral health, that doesn’t mean that you have to give them up entirely. In fact, gum chewers will be pleased to learn that their venerable pastime can actually promote the health of your teeth!
A combination of banana and strawberry flavor analogs, bubble gum is one of the most celebrated and well-known chewing gum varieties out there. Among dentists, however, it is not so popular.
Why not? For one thing, sugary gums can promote bacterial growth that lead to cavities and gum infection. Extra sticky gum made for blowing bubbles is also problematic for those with dental work like crowns, bridges and fillings, which can be dislodged during the chewing process.
The nice thing about gum is that there are so many tasty sugar-free options available. Sugar-free gum can actually promote oral health by stimulating your salivary glands, which neutralizes harmful acid and generates minerals that strengthen enamel. Gums with natural sweeteners like Stevia and xylitol are preferable to aspartame and sucralose, which have unconfirmed relationships to cancer and liver disease.
Xylitol is a sugar-alcohol that is as sweet as sucrose (table sugar) with just 33% of the calories. And although it isn’t completely calorie-free like many other artificial sweeteners, it offers unprecedented benefits to your oral health that has led to a whole-hearted endorsement from the American Dental Association (ADA).
What benefits, you ask? Research has shown that xylitol inhibits the growth of Streptococcus mutans, a chief bacteria agent in the production of cavities. In the presence of xylitol, this bacteria loses the ability to adhere to the tooth. Over time, xylitol has even been shown to change the composition of your oral bacteria and reduce the risk of cavities manyfold.
Recommended brands of xylitol gum include Spry Gum, Pür Gum, Peppersmith (a rare brand from the UK), and Epic.
While there are demonstrated benefits to chewing gum, it isn’t a replacement for regular brushing and flossing. Chewing can also be detrimental to patients with TMJ or other jaw disorders. So don’t chew because you feel like you have to. Chew because you love it!
Looking for a new dentist? Do you need oral care that you can be proud of for years? The team at Schaumburg Dental Studio wants to you to join our smiling community. Call (847) 957-3537 to schedule an appointment today.