Chewing gum is a popular, widespread habit that nearly everyone enjoys. It’s actually an ancient pastime from when our ancestors chewed on things made from tree sap. Today’s gum doesn’t contain prehistoric ingredients, and instead, shelves are stocked with synthetic flavors like spearmint, bubblegum, and mango peach. So, the big question is: Is chewing gum bad for your teeth?
Chewing Gum: Bad idea or healthy habit?
Surprise! Chewing gum is a healthy habit. Evidence proves that gum is safe and effective in good oral health practices. Even the American Dental Association (ADA) gives chewing gum its Seal of Acceptance, and here’s why.
- Chewing gum stimulates saliva production. That might sound gross, but it’s actually a major benefit for your mouth. Saliva is an essential part of excellent oral health because it neutralizes acids and breaks down bacteria from all the food and drinks you consume. Without enough saliva to do those jobs, all that acid and bacteria adhere to your teeth and gums. This leads to plaque buildup, cavities, and gingivitis down the road if not treated properly.
- Chewing gum provides stress relief. Many scientific studies prove that chewing gum is linked to reducing levels of stress. Not only that, but chronic gum chewers have improved memory, extra alertness, and better decision-making skills. How is that for a fantastic benefit?
- Chewing gum is a helpful tool if you’re trying to slim down. Additional research indicates that gum chewers show decreased hunger and reduced snacking. Not only that but the participants in the study who did snack after chewing gum chose healthy options like fruit. There are no long-term studies on chewing gum and its relation to weight loss, but we definitely know that chewing gum isn’t bad if you’re craving a snack before bed.
- Chewing gum freshens your breath. Because it helps your mouth produce saliva, and that saliva removes yucky bacteria from your mouth, you’re left with fresh-smelling breath much longer. Plus, some gums are made specifically to give you fresh breath and leave a pleasant taste in your mouth.
- Chewing gum can help you break a nicotine addiction. Many studies have shown that reaching for a stick of gum instead of a cigarette can help curb cravings and provide a path to stopping the habit altogether.
The Bad News About Chewing Gum: Only Sugar-Free Gum Provides Advantages
While most research indicates that chewing gum is good for you, these studies only prove that sugar-free gum provides benefits. Chewing gum with sugar can be really bad for your oral health, leading to increased plaque and possibly tooth decay.
When reaching for a pack of gum, make sure the label says that it is sugar-free to reap the advantages. Plus, keep in mind that chewing gum doesn’t do anything to clean your teeth, but it is an excellent ally in keeping teeth and gums clean between brushings.
Ready for a check-up on your teeth and gums? Call us today at 317-745-4400. Our skilled staff at Danville Family Dentistry can’t wait to see your smile.
Disclaimer: The information included in this article is for educational purposes only. It should not be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.