Chewing gum is an activity that virtually everyone has engaged in at some point in their lives. This habit actually goes back to prehistoric times when early humans chewed on tree sap. Modern chewing gum is nothing like the prehistoric version, but contains synthetic ingredients instead.
If you like to chew gum, you may find yourself wondering if it is bad for your teeth?
Well, it depends.
Read on to learn more about chewing gum and its effects on your teeth and health.
It may surprise you to learn that dentists find that chewing gum is a healthy habit, overall. The American Dental Association (ADA) even says so.
- Stimulates saliva production
- Offers stress relief
- Can help you slim down
- Freshens breath
- Helpful in breaking a nicotine habit
Let’s break down each benefit of chewing gum:
As gross as it may sound, this is actually something really good for your teeth and mouth. Saliva is needed for oral health because it helps to neutralize acid and metabolize bacteria from the foods and beverages that you consume.
People with dry mouth have higher rates of tooth decay and gum disease because saliva is not present to fulfill its role. Bacteria and acids adhere to teeth and gums in a dry mouth, leading to the accumulation of plaque and the development of gingivitis.
Studies have found that chewing gum helps reduce stress levels. Chewing gum even helps with memory and mental acuity.
Stress can lead to bruxism, or grinding of the teeth. By giving those jaw muscles something productive to do, you are tiring them out and helping prevent this condition that can cause a great deal of wear and tear on your teeth, potentially leading to a need for future dental work.
Chewing gum can also help you slim down. Studies have shown that gum chewers have decreased appetites and snack less between meals. It has also been found that study participants who chewed gum and snack elected for healthier food options like fruit.
Since chewing gum increases saliva production, it helps to carry away accumulations of bacteria that can produce bad breath. A lot of chewing gum is even specifically made for creating fresh breath and leaving a pleasant taste behind.
Putting a stick of gum in your mouth, instead of a cigarette, can reduce cravings for nicotine and give you the ability to quit this unhealthy habit more easily.
When it comes to chewing gum, moderation is key. Try to chew sugar-free gum as much as possible to avoid tooth decay. Don’t turn chewing gum into an addiction. And don’t over chew your gum. With many types of chewing gum, the longer you chew it, the tougher it gets. Overly chewed gum can create a highly sticky, suctioning effect that can adhere to your dental work and pull it out over time.
Thanks for your support!
– Dr. Houlik