Monday, July 11, 2016

Chewing sugar free gum can improve your dental health

            Men’s Health magazine recently had an article titled, “This $1 Habit Could Save You Hundreds In Dental Bills.” The article discussed how chewing sugar free gum is a simple and inexpensive trick to help keep your mouth healthy and reduce your dental expenditures. So how does chewing sugar free gum promote dental health?
Chewing sugar free gum reduces the acidity in our mouth and reduces the bad bacteria present. It does so by increasing saliva production, which in turn helps to remove food from the teeth and neutralize the acid that wears away at enamel. This obviously should mean less dental work needed over time.
How long do you need to chew the gum for it to be effective? It should be at least for 20 minutes to get the maximum benefit that sugar free gum can give you. If you only chew gum for enough time to freshen your breath and quickly dispose of it, it doesn’t provide adequate time to cleanse some of the surface areas and change the acidity in the mouth.
            Does chewing sugar free gum replace brushing, flossing, or using mouth rinse? It should only be used as a supplement to the usual home care techniques. Brushing, flossing, and rinsing are the only ways to adequately clean the teeth. If you try to replace these with chewing sugar free gum, I think you could run into some serious dental issues. But chewing gum could be a great way to supplement your home care routines if you are snacking throughout the day and you do not have a toothbrush and toothpaste with you.
            Be sure you check the ingredients and labels on gum before you buy with the purpose of improving your oral health. If you are consistently chewing gum loaded with sugar, it could have the opposite effect. And definitely talk with your dentist for any other recommendations regarding your individual situation.

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Lee T. Brown, DDS

Brown and Kupper, DDS 

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