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Chewing Choices: What Gum is Good for Your Teeth?

Feb 25, 2023Pediatric Dentistry

man chewing sugar-free gum

In the past, chewing sugared gum has gotten a bad reputation – whether it’s children sticking it under desks at school or dentists opposing it for damaging your enamel. But now, the most popular chewing gums have taken a turn: they’re now sugarless gums!

With this change, chewing gum isn’t all bad anymore. In fact, rumor has it that sugar-free chewing gum can be good for you (or even protect your teeth). How much truth is there to this statement?

Today, we’re going to check out the real facts about sugarless gum and tooth decay. Can it protect your teeth and improve your oral health? Let’s see!

Is Chewing Sugar-Free Gum Good for Teeth?

The answer may surprise you – yes, sugarless gum can be good for your oral health!

Even the American Dental Association has given chewing gum the thumbs-up for helping tooth enamel and preventing cavities. Creating a healthy smile starts with great brushing skills and frequent flossing, but sugar-free gum can bring great vibes to your healthy-teeth routine.

But how does something as simple as sugar-free chewing gums reduce tooth decay? Let’s take a look!

How Sugarless Gum Helps Your Oral Health

When we look at how to fight tooth decay and plaque, we have to look at why we get cavities in the first place. Cavity-causing bacteria are lurking in your mouth, waiting for sucrose and carbohydrates to enter the scene. After a meal (or a snack), these bacteria eat the sugar and food particles, causing an amount of acid production that hurts your tooth enamel. Without taking bacteria and plaque to task with fluoride toothpaste and a brush, you’ll be at risk for dental problems – like gingivitis, bad breath, dental erosion, cavities, and more!

woman chewing bubble gum and blowing a bubble

Pump Up That Saliva Production! – The most important side effect of chewing gum is an increase in your salivary flow rate. More saliva counteracts the acid in your mouth after eating, washing away the food particles, acid, bacteria, and sugar that are harmful. Chewing sugar-free gums increased your saliva flow over your teeth, helping you fight plaque!

Kick Sugar Alcohols – Did you know that some sugarless chewing gum (and candy) has a natural sweetener that can help fight tooth decay? That’s right – xylitol, found in xylitol gum, is a sugar substitute that has been shown to give you an extra boost when it comes to reducing plaque acids. And xylitol still qualifies as a sugar-free gum because it isn’t absorbed by cariogenic bacteria, unlike other sweeteners!

Grocery Store Grabs: What Chewing Gum Should I Be Choosing?

When it comes to choosing your new favorite chewing gum, there are just a few things to look for:

  • Don’t chew gum that’s sugary – stick to gum with xylitol or other artificial sweeteners.
  • Chew gum that has the ADA Seal of Acceptance. Certain types of gum have earned this seal through multiple studies that evaluate their safety and efficacy, meaning they’re good for your teeth and mouth!

Positive Communication

Choose a children’s dental practice near you where you and your child feel comfortable. You want good, effective communication and education. Look for a pediatric dentist who takes the time to explain procedures in a child-friendly manner, addressing any concerns or questions your child may have. 

Children dentistry and orthodontics

Final Thoughts on Finding a Pediatric Dentist Near You

Friendly staff and dentists who are skilled in interacting with children can help alleviate anxiety and create a positive dental experience for you and your child. Have a conversation with the staff when you call or ask to have a quick conversation with one of the pediatric dentists before you make an appointment.

Or, if you go and something does not fit about the experience– the service, the location near you, the atmosphere– then switch to a different dentist for your kids.

By prioritizing your child’s comfort, communication, and comprehensive care, you can ensure that they receive the best possible dental experience and lay the foundation for a lifetime of oral health.