Is Gum Chewing Bad For Your Teeth?
According to the American Dental Association, around 59% of the population chew gum, but if you asked a room full of people whether chewing gum is bad for your teeth, you are highly likely to be met with a mixed bag of answers.
One of the most contentious issues surrounding oral health is whether chewing gum is good or bad for your teeth. Find out the truth below.
What are the effects of chewing gum on your teeth?
As mentioned above, people can’t seem to agree on whether or not chewing gum is bad for your teeth, and there is a very good reason for this. To put it simply, there is no exact answer, as chewing gum can have both positive and negative effects on your teeth.
Let’s take a much closer look at both the advantages and disadvantages of chewing gum below.
Increased saliva production. When you chew gum, your mouth produces more saliva. This increased saliva flow helps to rinse bad bacteria out of your mouth and reduce the risk of tooth decay.
Better oral hygiene. Sugar-free chewing gums can contribute to improved oral hygiene as they help to keep your breath fresh and your teeth free from food debris.
Strengthen tooth enamel. Chewing gum contains a substance known as casein phosphopeptide-amorphous calcium phosphate, or CPP-ACP for short. This substance has the ability to harden and strengthen your tooth enamel and also protect your teeth against decay.
Neutralization of acids. When you chew gum, it can neutralize the acids in your mouth, which can help protect your tooth enamel and even reduce your risk of tooth decay.
- Tooth decay. If you choose a chewing gum that contains sugar, then you are putting yourself at risk of tooth decay. When you chew gum or bubble gum that contains sugar, the sugars cling to your teeth and slowly eat away at your teeth’s enamel.
Jaw ache. If you chew gum regularly, as in every day, multiple times a day, you are likely to start to experience jaw ache. Some people also start to get headaches, and, in extreme cases, Temporomandibular Joint Disorder can develop, which causes extreme discomfort in the face and jaw.
Stomach issues. People with sensitive stomachs or existing stomach problems may find that chewing gum makes their symptoms worse. This is especially true if you chew gum after eating.
Release of mercury. Chewing gum can potentially cause mercury to be released from mercury amalgam fillings.
Unfortunately, this isn’t the end of the negatives. Worse than all of the above, if you chew gum, you may also experience the following.
- Tooth deformities. Chewing gum on a regular basis can lead to changes in your bite alignment. In particular, your upper molars may start to move apart and your lower molars drift backward, causing an overbite.It is worth noting that people who chew gum on a regular basis are less likely to eat the recommended number of portions of fresh fruit and vegetables each day. They are also more likely to consume unhealthy foods such as potato chips and candy than people who do not chew gum, all of which can have a negative effect on overall oral health. If you would like to discuss the advantages and disadvantages of chewing gum in more detail, please take the time to get in touch with one of our dental experts at bafdentistry.com.
What are the side effects of artificial sweeteners on your teeth?
While sugar-free gums are undeniably a better option for your teeth and gums than chewing sugary gum, what a lot of people do not know is that most of these contain sugar substitutes, i.e., artificial sweeteners.
The most common artificial sweetener in chewing gum is called Aspartame. Although research is not conclusive, studies suggest that this artificial sweetener could help the body to create formaldehyde, which is known for being a carcinogen.
Is sugar-free gum better for your teeth?
If you are going to chew gum, you need to choose the right type of gum. It is a much better idea to choose a sugar-free variety than one that is loaded with the white stuff. Sugar-free gum, especially ones that contain xylitol, is good at cleaning bits of food out of your teeth after eating.
Xylitol is a naturally occurring sugar substitute. It offers several health benefits, including the prevention of the growth of a type of oral bacteria that causes cavities.
Sugar-free gum is also great for freshening up your breath after eating and in between tooth brushing.
How to maintain good oral health
Whether you choose to chew gum or not, you need to make sure that you practice good oral health if you want to keep your teeth in good condition for the duration of your life.
As part of your oral health regime, you should:
Brush twice a day for 2 minutes using a fluoride toothpaste and a soft-bristled brush.
Floss once a day or after eating.
Use mouthwash - this removes food particles left after brushing and flossing.
Eat a healthy and well-balanced diet that does not contain too many sugary foods and
Replace your toothbrush once every 2-3 months or sooner if it starts to display signs
of wear and tear.
Avoid smoking and drinking alcohol.
Schedule regular check-ups and cleaning sessions with your dentist and hygienist.
If you love chewing gum and can’t imagine giving it up, then your best option is to choose a sugar-free variety. However, keep in mind that chewing gum too often, whether it’s sugar-free or not, can have quite a negative effect on your teeth and your overall oral health, as explored above.
If you want to freshen up your mouth after eating or in between teeth brushing sessions, it is a much better idea to invest in a quality mouthwash and flossing set. Alternatively, a glass of water with a sprig of mint offers a more natural and cost-effective way to eliminate any lingering odors after eating.