One of the most ubiquitous treats in our world is chewing gum. For years parents have admonished their children to brush their teeth after chewing so cavities will not form on the kid’s teeth.
It turns out that many of the parents’ fears were needless because in certain situations, gum not only does not hurt teeth; it actually helps clean our mouths.
There are two parts to this idea that gum can help, not hurt. The first is the kind of gum that is chewed and the second is the amount of extra saliva that is produced while chewing gum.
Originally gum was made from the sap of a tree. That sap was tapped from the sapodilla tree, similarly to the way maple sap is tapped for maple syrup. Then the sap was mixed with sugar and flavorings and cooked until the substance we call gum was produced.
Now, most gum is made from an artificial rubber compound called polyisobutylene. This has a similar temperature profile to chicle (the original ingredient in gum) so that it softens as it is chewed.
Numerous studies have shown that chewing sugarless gum after eating helps rinse off the teeth and neutralize the acids produced by the bacteria in plaque.
It is only sugarless gum that helps keep your mouth clean. Chewing a piece of gum made with regular sugar does not help clean your mouth. In fact, this can even exacerbate tooth decay.
The main benefits of gum chewing come from the additional saliva produced by the act of chewing. The artificial sweeteners stimulate saliva flow.
This, in turn, neutralizes acid in your mouth and washes away food particles.
Sugarless Gum Sweetened With Xylitol
Xylitol is a sugar alcohol. It combines chemical characteristics of both sugars and alcohols but does not affect blood sugar the way regular sugar does. It is often used in sugar-free foods. Xylitol is produced naturally from birch trees and the fibers of the xylan plant. It tastes similar to regular sugar and has minimal aftertaste.
Gum that is sweetened with xylitol provides an extra mouth cleaning benefit. Xylitol actually inhibits production of the streptococcus mutans bacteria, which is responsible for creating cavities. When xylitol is in the mouth the bacteria lose the ability to stick to your teeth. This keeps them from attacking your teeth and causing cavities.
The Final Word On Chewing Gum To Keep Your Mouth Clean
When you chew sugarless gum, you are actually helping keep your mouth fresh and clean. Chewing a gum made with xylitol can actually reduce the amount of cavity-causing bacteria in your mouth.
No matter what anyone has to say, chewing the right kind of gum can help keep your mouth clean.
The Mountain View Dental offices are located at 2797 US-89, Suite 201, in Pleasant View. They offer a recently redesigned facility complete with nineteen exam rooms each equipped with Netflix stations. The facility is comfortable and professional. The staff members are extremely courteous and helpful. Please call the office anytime at 385-324-3557 for any questions or to schedule an appointment.