You may be surprised to find out that chewing sugar-free gum can bring a lot of benefits to your mouth health. It’s true! According to numerous studies, chewing sugarless gum for 20 minutes after eating can help prevent cavity formation. These claims may seem a little far-fetched. To clarify: the cavity-fighting does not happen from the sugar-free gum directly, but rather from the natural process that chewing it stimulates in your mouth.
The act of chewing encourages the salivary glands in your mouth to create more saliva. It is the extra saliva–not the gum–that fights the bacteria which cause cavities. Cavities form primarily through acid erosion. The bacteria which live in your mouth consume sugars leftover from food particles. They make acid from the sugar, which acid eats away at tooth enamel until a hole forms. Saliva is your body’s first natural defense against this cycle. Help it along by chewing sugar-free gum for 20 minutes after eating or drinking.
Studies have also suggested that chewing gum may reduce the effects of heartburn. It may not be obvious how this relates to oral health, but it does–heartburn is caused by acids from the stomach traveling up the esophagus, gradually wearing away the tissues. If the acids do damage to teeth if they reach your mouth. The extra saliva formation from chewing gum protects your teeth from these acids and may even reduce the occurence of heartburn.
For more information, call Langworthy Family Dentistry in Fuquay-Varina, North Carolina, at 919-762-3239. Dr. Kristen Langworthy and our team look forward to making your smile shine!