Chewing gum can assist in keeping your mouth clean between brushing sessions. Studies have shown that chewing gum for 20 minutes after eating can help prevent cavities! Let’s talk about how this can work.
Chewing on sugarless gum activates your body’s first defense against cavities: saliva. Saliva cleans teeth of food particles and debris, fortifies tooth enamel, and neutralizes acids present in your mouth. To understand why this is helpful, let’s analyze the basics of how cavities form.
There are bacteria that live in your mouth–a LOT of bacteria. They come together to form a sticky film called plaque, that coats your teeth and gums. The bacteria in the plaque feed on the sugars from leftover food particles. They then create an acidic byproduct that eats away at the hard outer layer of your teeth. Saliva cleans the plaque away from teeth, cleans the food away from plaque, washes the acids away, and fortifies the enamel itself.
Chewing sugar-sweetened gum also stimulates saliva. However, the added sugars get spread around the mouth, feeding the very bacteria you are trying to fight. This negates the benefits of chewing gum in the first place. Stick with sugar-free gum for a healthy smile!
For more information, call our office in Bend, Oregon, at 541.389.1301. Dr. Thomas E. Wold and our team are here to help!