Sugar-free gum can help freshen your breath and reduce your risk of cavities. If you regularly chew traditional gum, here are 5 reasons you might want to switch to a sugarless product.
It can keep your mouth moist
Bacteria tend to flourish when our mouths are dry. By chewing sugar-free gum, you can promote saliva production and make your mouth less hospitable for plaque. This can be especially helpful if you take medications that cause the mouth to dry out as a side-effect. It can also be helpful if you tend to breathe through your mouth at night when you sleep. If you suffer from dry mouth, you should be drinking plenty of water throughout the day. In the meantime, you can reduce dryness by chewing sugarless gum.
It can rinse away acids
According to the American Dental Association, since the act of chewing increases salivary flow in the mouth, sugar-free gum can help ward off cavities. When chewed after eating, the gum can increase salivary flow and help neutralize and rinse away the acids that develop when food is broken down by the bacteria in our mouths. In fact, the ADA reports cites research which indicates that chewing sugarless gum for 20 minutes after eating can help prevent tooth decay.
It won’t feed bacteria
Regular chewing gum contains sucrose and other fermentable carbohydrates, which can be metabolized by oral bacteria. This can promote dental biofilm and acid, which promotes enamel erosion and cavities. Because sugar-free gum does not contain sucrose, it won’t feed bacteria and increase your risk of dental issues. You can chew sugarless gum without having to worry about increasing your risk of cavities or increasing the size of your waistline.
It can reduce tooth sensitivity
Sugar-free gum may also be able to reduce tooth sensitivity caused by teeth whitening treatments. According to research appearing in the British Dental Journal, subjects who chewed sugar-free gum after receiving a teeth-whitening procedure had significantly less sensitivity compared to subjects who did not chew any gum. Researchers believe the increased saliva is the likeliest reason for the benefits.
It can freshen your breath
Sugarless gum can help reduce bad breath by keeping your mouth moist. This can be especially effective for people who regularly struggle to keep their breath smelling fresh. That said, if you suffer from chronic halitosis, you should visit your dentist to look for potential underlying causes such as gum disease.
Things to Consider
While it does offer many benefits, sugar-free gum shouldn’t replace brushing and flossing. The ADA still recommends brushing twice every day with fluoride toothpaste and removing plaque from between teeth once a day using dental floss or another type of interdental cleaner.
You should also schedule regular exams and cleanings with your local dentist to catch minor issues before they evolve into serious problems requiring expensive treatments. If you suffer from dry mouth or chronic bad breath, you should schedule an appointment with your dentist as soon as possible, since these issues can be signs of serious underlying health issues.