Time and again, our dentists in the Anaheim area have come to the Primary Dental Care blog with tips on how to get cleaner, brighter, and even whiter teeth.
Sometimes those suggestions are pretty normal – like brushing after meals or waiting a while before brushing after meals (to prevent unnecessary acid erosion). Other times, patients think the tips seem strange, like when we say that chewing gum is good for your teeth.
Wait a second. Let’s walk it back for a second.
Not all chewing gum is good for your teeth. That’s better.
Chewing gum can be a powerful tool in your arsenal when it comes to minimizing damage to your teeth and keeping them fresh and healthy. Even the American Dental Association recommends gum as a great stop-gap for middle-of-the-day dental care – especially when you can’t always brush. But the key feature in every ADA approved pack of chewing gum is the same – they don’t have sugar. Only sugar-free gum gets the important ADA seal of approval, and for good reason.
Most sugarless gum is sweetened with a special substance like xylitol or stevia. Stevia, for example, is as sweet as sugar – but doesn’t contain the fermentable carbs that end up getting converted into enamel-damaging acid.
The other big sweetener in gum is xylitol. In addition to not containing fermentable carbs or contributing to dental problems – xylitol even showed in studies that it helped clean the mouth by preventing the bacteria that causes plaque from sticking to teeth.
But this isn’t the only reason sugar-free gum can be good for your teeth – a bigger reason is saliva flow. In addition to the fact that many people suffer from decreased salivation due to age or medication – saliva is just plain good for your teeth. Popping in some gum after a meal can often give your mouth the extra push it needed to help rid itself of extra food debris and bacteria that might have otherwise stuck around.
So, what’s the best gum for your teeth? Look for 2 qualities
- It has an ADA Approval Seal
- It DOES NOT Have Sugar