You already know that you should be brushing and flossing twice a day to keep up with your oral hygiene, but what else can you do? Many dentists recommend that you chew a piece of gum a few times a day to help strengthen your teeth, but patients often wonder if this is true. If you’ve been wondering whether chewing gum is good for your teeth, here’s what you need to know:
How Chewing Gum Helps Teeth
One of the main ways that chewing gum can help you improve your dental health is through the increase of saliva. Your mouth naturally produces more saliva when you pop a piece of gum in. This is because you’re creating a situation that stimulates your taste receptors since all gum has flavour to it. Of course, the physical act of chewing also stimulates more saliva production, even if the gum has no flavour left.
Why does increased saliva help your teeth?
More saliva in the mouth helps to balance out the acidic compounds found in many foods. If you had a food with a lot of acid in it prior to chewing the gum, you can minimize its effects as saliva starts to wash it away. This leads to stronger enamel.
However, this isn’t the only way that increased saliva production can help your teeth. Saliva is well-known for increasing calcium and phosphate in the mouth. This allows the gum to help with the remineralization of your enamel. It’s also a natural source of fluoride, which can cut back on the number of cavities you develop over time.
Chewing the Right Gum
If you want your chewing gum to be good for your teeth, you need to be cautious about what you choose. Be sure to read the ingredient labels on chewing gum carefully if you want to see some of the benefits above. The right type of chewing gum should be sugar-free though they may still have artificial sweeteners in them, such as aspartame and xylitol.
Gums with real sugar can cause a buildup of plaque and bacteria in the mouth, negating the positive benefits of increased saliva flow.
Chewing Gum at the Right Time
While it can be helpful to chew sugar-free gum at any time, there is one time that is more significant than others. You should consider popping a piece of gum in your mouth at the end of every meal. Gum isn’t a substitute for good oral hygiene, but it can supplement your brushing and flossing.
After a meal, chew your gum for about 20 minutes to get the desired effect of decreasing plaque and acid, as well as strengthening your enamel.
Consult Your Dentist
If you have any questions about how chewing gum can be good for your smile, East Kildonan Dental can help. Our dental offices in Winnipeg can schedule you for a routine cleaning and answer any questions you might have about ways to improve your oral health. Reach out to us today to learn more and book an appointment!