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The Effect of Gum Chewing on Teeth

Everyone likes chewing gum. Teeth like it too! But do you know HOW much everyone likes chewing gum? Try this: according to sales reports, 100,000 tons of chewing gum is consumed every single year. That’s a lot of sticks and tablets of gum (and a whole lot of wrappers finding their way into the garbage)! Yet is it good for us to chew gum, and if so, is sugar free gum the way to go? Read on to learn more about gum chewing benefits.

—Many dentists support chewing gum after meals. In fact, Wrigley’s Orbit sugar-free gum was recognized by the British Dental Association for promoting good oral health. Chewing gum after meals helps generate saliva which in turn aids in washing away, within mere minutes, the acid that bacteria produces in plaque. In fact, saliva has hydrogen carbonate, which is included in some toothpaste. Bad breath and dental decay results when this acid isn’t washed away, which means chewing gum after meals is particularly important because teeth are most endangered when plaque acid levels rise immediately after meals.

—Make sure the gum is sugar-free, though. Sugar is not only the biggest cause of cavities but also helps generate the acid-producing bacteria that crops up in your mouth. Those who chew gum with sugar have to strike a delicate balancing act between not chewing it too much and not spitting it out after a short time. Studies indicate that gum with sugar in it should be chewed for between 15 and 20 minutes. At the end of that period, the sugar is long gone and enough saliva has been created to wash away the residue created by the sugar. But of course, dentists don’t want their patients regularly chewing gum after meals if that gum has sugar in it. So that balance must be struck—or, better yet, adults and teens should just chew sugar-free gum.

—Other sugar-free gum chewing benefits: some studies show that the surface of sugar-free gum can help dislodge food particles that are wedged in between teeth while also helping to get rid of sugar that is built up on the teeth. This, in turn, helps slow or prevent plaque from forming, and there are few things more detrimental to oral health than plaque. And sugar-free gum, of course, also helps further freshen one’s breath, especially mint-flavored gum. It doesn’t matter if you’re trying to impress someone on a first date or merely trying to get through a long afternoon in a shared cubicle at work—good, fresh-smelling breath is always one of the best gum chewing benefits!

—Brush your teeth after chewing gum. Consider chewing gum after meals a treat in exchange for brushing your teeth after meals. But wait—you can’t do BOTH at the same time, can you? Of course not! However, many dentists approve of chewing gum after meals and then brushing your teeth. This allows for a double cleaning of the teeth and should further help in improving the health of your teeth.

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