Is Gum Bad for Your Teeth?April 20, 2023 7:00 pm
From big balls to strips to bite-size tablets, gum comes in all shapes, sizes, and flavors. Chewing gum can quench thirst, be a satisfying sweet treat, and help remove food particles from your teeth. However, we don’t recommend chewing just any type of gum. Make sure your chewing gum is sugar-free!
Why Choose Sugar-Free Gum
Chewing gum can help prevent tooth decay as long as it’s sugar-free. Sugar is the culprit behind cavities. Unlike traditional gum, sugar-free gum is flavored with naturally-occurring sweeteners like xylitol or artificial sweeteners. Without real sugar, chewing gum stimulates the production of saliva to help wash away bacteria and food debris. Gum that contains xylitol goes one step more by actually inhibiting the growth of bacteria.
Benefits of Chewing Sugar-free Gum
The act of chewing gum increases saliva production. By increasing saliva flow, there is less chance of cavities occurring! This is because saliva neutralizes harmful acids in your mouth, reduces plaque, washes away food particles, and encourages remineralization of your enamel. Chewing sugar-free gum can also improve your breath and curb the desire to graze on snacks throughout the day.
Things to Consider for Kids Chewing Gum
We recommend waiting until a child is at least 5 years old to chew sugar-free gum, or until they know not to swallow it. Swallowing gum can cause digestive upset. Don’t let your child chew gum if they wear metal braces because it will get stuck and can cause damage to their braces. Additionally, your child shouldn’t chew gum if they experience regular headaches or have jaw pain. These issues should be discussed with their healthcare team!
Visit Our Office to Establish Healthy Habits
While chewing sugar-free gum offers several benefits, it cannot and should not replace daily brushing and flossing, and visiting the dentist for regular checkups and cleanings. At Safari Children’s Dentistry & Braces, our team would love to care for your child’s growing smile and help them establish healthy dental habits. Please contact us today to schedule their appointment at our office!