Chewing gum has been a popular treat in America for over 150 years. Over 160 million Americans chew gum each year. Perhaps because of this popularity, there has been debate about whether or not chewing gum is good for your dental health. This debate goes all the way back to the beginning – the first chewing gum patent was held by a dentist who promoted the oral health benefits of his invention. In this blog post, we’ll explore whether or not chewing gum is good for your teeth.
Reasons Why Chewing Gum Is Good For Your Teeth
There are several proven benefits for chewing gum:
- Chewing sugarless gum after meals can clean bits of food out of your teeth.
- The act of chewing gum produces saliva in the mouth, which has distinct oral health benefits.
- Saliva neutralizes the acids produced by bacteria in plaque. This acid is a root cause of tooth decay, so when it is neutralized it reduces the damage done to your teeth.
- Saliva also moves calcium and phosphate to your teeth, which strengthens enamel.
- Your jaw muscles get a workout when chewing gum, strengthening them.
- Minty gum can freshen breath and reduce the effects of halitosis.
Reasons Why Chewing Gum Is Bad For Your Teeth
Despite all of these benefits, there are also some reasons why chewing gum can be bad for your teeth. This is especially true for people with certain dental health issues.
- Benefits to gum-chewing are limited to sugar-free gum. Sugar in gum (or any food) can lead to tooth decay, negating some of the benefits you get from the physical act of chewing gum.
- In individuals with temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ), the act of chewing gum can put additional strain on jaw muscles. This can intensify the symptoms of TMJ and cause additional discomfort.
- Gum can stick to dental work like crowns or fillings, loosening or even breaking dental prosthetics.
- Gum can be especially damaging to braces, getting stuck within brackets or wires.
Chewing gum can be good for your teeth, with a few important caveats. First, you should stick to sugar-free gum so that the sugar does not counteract the oral health benefits you get from chewing. Secondly, avoid gum if you have dental conditions or dental work that could be negatively affected by the stickiness of gum or the act of chewing. As long as you stick to these two guidelines, you can enjoy the health benefits that come from chewing gum!