Does Chewing Gum Really Prevent Cavities?

a family with a healthy smiles

When it comes to keeping your mouth clean and healthy, it is important to consider all aspects of the mouth. The mouth is a complex feature of the human body that requires more than “just brushing” to keep it healthy. Chewing gum is an often overlooked habit that can benefit the mouth, as long as proper steps are taken to ensure that you choose the correct type of gum. People worldwide have been chewing gum for thousands of years to combat bad breath, to break a bad habit (e.g. smoking), or for the simple enjoyment of its sweet taste. Yet, the aspect of chewing gum benefiting your oral health is often surprising. Keep reading to learn how this simple and tasty habit can help protect your smile.

The mouth is home to millions of bacteria on any given day. Oral bacteria thrive in the moist, warm environment inside your mouth. On top of this, after every meal, snack, or beverage other than water, tiny particles are left behind that become trapped between the teeth and at the gum line. The naturally occurring oral bacteria congregate around these particles to help break them down. While these bacteria mean to be helpful, they quickly turn harmful as they produce acids to assist in the breaking down process. All acids are corrosive and dangerous, eating their way through whatever is in their path: this being your tooth enamel when referring to oral bacteria. As acids eat through the tooth enamel, they leave holes, or cavities, in the teeth.

This is where chewing gum comes in. Chewing gum can help prevent the destruction caused by oral bacteria because chewing gum promotes the production of saliva. Saliva is quite possibly the most underappreciated components of oral health, yet it plays a significant role in cavity prevention. Saliva keeps the mouth moist, making it more difficult for oral bacteria to adhere to the teeth; thus, making it less likely that these bacteria will produce excessive amounts of acids. Chewing gum increases the amount of saliva inside the mouth, which in turn helps to prevent cavities.

The most important thing to understand in regard to chewing gum for cavity prevention is that you must chew sugar-free gum. Oral bacteria are most attracted to sugar particles, and introducing sugar particles into the mouth via chewing gum would negate any benefit. By chewing sugar free gum after meals and snacks, you are helping to protect the teeth by preventing cavities.

At Taylor Dental & Implant Center, we encourage those with healthy teeth and gums to add sugar free gum to their daily habits to support cavity prevention.

Posted on behalf of Taylor Dental & Implant Center