A recent report by the American Dental Association has reminded the public that, while chewing gum can make for messy conversation and a sticky mess, it has a far more desirable effect on oral health.
The study outlines some of the early trials conducted as researchers set out to evaluate the effectiveness of gum at removing bacteria from the oral cavity.
But the bigger picture is simple: chewing gum is actually good for you, and that’s something patients at our family dental clinic in Garden Grove are happy to learn.
The earliest studies made clear that the bacteria removal capabilities of gum remain unknown, but went they did go so far as to identify three key ingredients for tooth-friendly sugar free gum:
The data presented suggests that the two evaluated chewing gums, both of which were described as being ‘commercially available spearmint gum’ with sorbitol, gum base and glycerin listed as the first three ingredients, trapped bacteria when chewed
While the study hasn’t accounted for whether or not chewing sugar-free gum simply trapped or “changed the balance” of bacteria in the month, research is ongoing and the available evidence seems to say that chewing sugar-free gum can make a difference for your oral health by cutting down on bacteria and even contributing to plaque and buildup removal.
To support this, you can take the ADA’s recognition of gum as an actual oral healthcare tool as final proof that chewing sugar-free gum is GOOD for your teeth. That same recognition lead the ADA to create the following list of sugar-free chewing gums, with full ADA approval (look for the seal ).
It’s Not Too Good to Be True
Any gum (as long as it’s sugar-free) can help clean your teeth
There’s no need to go out and buy a box of sugar-free gum that’s been advertised as a cavity fighting, energy boosting, protein supplement, that will help you sprout wings and solve complex arithmetic without using your fingers. Nothing fancy is required. Any sugar free gum will help prevent cavities in precisely the way you’d think it would, by actually picking up bits of food and debris. On top of this, chewing gum also simulates saliva production, which goes even further to help rinse away food.
Look for Xylitol
Many sugar free chewing gums use a sugar alternative called Xylitol to give the gum it’s sweet flavor that can surprisingly last for quite some time. The best part, however, is the studies that show how Xylitol can reduce bacteria in your mouth.
And When in Doubt, Ask Your Dentist