For years commercials have touted the oral health benefits of chewing gum after meals. You may have even found yourself unwrapping a stick of your favorite gum while wondering, “Does this really help?”
In a word – yes. Chewing stimulates the flow of saliva in your mouth, and that saliva is your body’s natural buffer against the acids produced by dental plaque.
Naturally, there are a few points to keep in mind.
First, consider what you are chewing. Not all chewing gum can provide dental health benefits, and some types can even cause harm. Remember, the cavity causing bacteria in dental plaque thrives on sugar, so a sugar-free gum is key.
Second, watch the timing. For maximum benefit, chewing should occur for 20 minutes, right after meals. Given enough time, the natural flow of saliva in your mouth will eventually begin to clear the teeth of remaining food particles and neutralize acid in the mouth, all on its own. However, this can take upwards of 30 minutes, during which time the bacteria in plaque has ample time to begin doing its damage. Chewing right after meals speeds up this process
Third, read the fine print. Yes, turn the package over and see if your sugarless gum has the ADA (American Dental Association) seal of approval. According the ADA, this is “your assurance that the product has been objectively evaluated for safety and effectiveness by an independent body of scientific experts.”
In short, to experience the oral health benefits of chewing gum after meals, remember these points:
- Keep it sugar-free
- Chew right after eating
- Check the label
In the end however, please remember that no amount of chewing gum can replace brushing, flossing, or a visit with your cosmetic dentist.
To schedule your dental checkup, please contact us.