Chewing gum is a habit that people either enjoy or they do not. Occasionally, some non-gum chewers may chew a piece of gum if they fear that they have bad breath. Americans have been chewing gum for over 100 years out of habit, as a breath freshener, and as a means to break the habit of smoking. Yet, there is also an added benefit to chewing gum that many people find surprising: chewing gum can help prevent the development of cavities from occurring inside the mouth.
While it may sound like something out of a horror movie, there are millions of bacteria taking up residence inside your mouth every single day. These bacteria congregate around tiny particles that are left behind after eating and drinking, and they begin to work to break them down. As they go to work, they begin producing acids to help them work faster. Acids are notorious for eating their way through whatever is in their path – this being your tooth enamel inside your mouth. It is important to note that oral bacteria are most attracted to sugar particles that are left behind in the mouth. They will congregate in huge numbers, creating pools of acids that quickly eat through the teeth and cause holes – otherwise known as cavities.
Chewing gum can help to prevent the onset of cavities because of the extra production of saliva. Many people overlook the important role that saliva plays in the mouth until they are dehydrated or suffer from dry mouth. Saliva helps to wash away particles after meals and snacks, and it also helps to wash away bacteria from the teeth. Because chewing gum helps to create extra saliva, it benefits the mouth by washing danger away. Of course, it is vital that you chew sugar-free gum. If you choose gum that is laden with sugar, you are simply inviting the dangerous effects of acid producing-bacteria to have their way with your teeth.
At Siena Dental, we want to help everyone find ways to benefit their oral health. While chewing gum should never replace daily flossing or brushing, it can be a beneficial addition to your daily habits that can help prevent cavities from forming in the teeth. Contact our practice today to ask about a recommendation for a chewing gum that will promote a healthy smile.
Posted on behalf of Dr. Dave Mahon, Siena Dental
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