You have a coffee on the way to work. You down a sugary smoothie after the gym. Then there’s the 3pm chocolate bar that you just couldn’t resist. You may brush your teeth twice per day, but it won’t protect your teeth during all those in-between times. You could chew gum. But is chewing gum good for your teeth?
What does the evidence say?
You probably know that after you eat or drink anything sugary or acidic, your teeth are under attack and plaque bacteria can form. The bacteria attacks tooth enamel and can lead to tooth decay and gum disease. However, research has found that if you chew sugar-free gum on the go, it can keep your mouth healthy. Don’t get us wrong, it won’t replace brushing your teeth, but it’s better than letting all those bacteria grow.
How is chewing gum good for your teeth?
Chewing gum produces saliva which combats acid and bacteria in the mouth. Our normal saliva levels can restore the health of your mouth an hour after eating. However, chew gum and you’ll produce more saliva so the benefits will come quicker.
Could chewing gum improve your child’s oral health?
While there’s no substitute for proper brushing and a good oral health routine, chewing sugar-free gum can go a long way to helping reduce the risk of tooth decay.
In the UK, preventable dental problems cost the health service billions of pounds every year to treat. A study found that more than a third of 12-year-olds in the UK had obvious signs of tooth decay. Other studies have found that if your oral health is poor as a child, it is likely to be poor as an adult. Over a lifetime of dental treatments, this costs the health service dearly.
But what if all young people chewed sugar-free gum after eating or drinking? Research published in the British Dental Journal found that doing this one simple thing could save the health service upwards of £8 million per year on dental treatments for preventable problems.
Chewing gum is only part of what makes a healthy mouth
Chewing sugar-free gum is a great addition to a good oral health routine. Continue to brush twice per day with a fluoride toothpaste and clean in between your teeth with floss and a tooth cleaner. Use mouthwash regularly and visit your dentist often to spot problems early. Then once you’ve cracked the healthy teeth part, you can add a bit of extra brightness with a teeth whitening pen.
For more on oral health and the products that will help you maintain a bright and healthy smile, check out the rest of our blog.