Chewing Gum and Oral Health

Gum has been a favorite candy or snack for many decades and remains a highly bought item in stores. It has become a suggested option for curbing hunger in recent years and has always been a top option for freshening breath when a toothbrush isn’t handy. However, gum isn’t always a great option. If you chew gum regularly, there are a few guidelines you should pay attention to in order to ensure your oral health doesn’t take a hit.

ADA Seal of Approval

Did you know that some gums are given a seal of approval by the ADA? This is because they’ve been able to give scientific proof that backed their gum’s ability to benefit oral health. This means that through scientific research, some companies have been able to produce gum that is actually not considered candy as much as it’s considered a dental tool. When buying gum, always look for the ADA seal before buying. This will ensure you’re getting a quality gum that will help with your oral health rather than harm it.

Sugar

The ADA has only approved sugarless gum up to this point. The approved chewing gums have a sugar substitute that is cavity-friendly which means it doesn’t further your risk of getting cavities when chewing it on a regular basis. Therefore, if anything, try to go for sugar-free gum if possible. This is a least one step in the right direction if no ADA approved gums are available to you.

How Does Chewing Gum Help Oral Health?

If your chewing gum isn’t an ADA approved brand, odds are, it’s only hurting your oral health rather than lending a hand. Gum is considered a candy which means the effects of most gum on your oral health are the same as they would be from candy. In other words, it increases your chances of cavities, is acidic, can cause plaque buildup, and bad bacteria buildup. However, if the right gum is chosen, it can aid in helping your oral health improve instead of harming it. Gum, especially when chewed right after a meal, encourages your mouth to produce more saliva. This, in turn, helps wash away bad bacteria, acidic substances, etc. that have accumulated on your teeth from the food you just consumed. This process also helps strengthen teeth as well as protect them from decay.

Some of the best sweetener substitutes to watch out for are mannitol and sorbitol. These are two main sweetener substitutes found in ADA approved gum brands. Aspartame has also been included in some of the gums approved by the ADA however, there has been some controversy in the past about this substitute. Overall, it’s always a good idea to talk to your dentist about a great gum option for you and your family. They will be able to suggest some ADA approved brands that they themselves recommend and they may even have some in the office for you to try. This will vary with each dental professional so, just ask and many will be happy to help offer any information even if they don’t have any samples on hand.

If you would like to look at a list of ADA approved gums, follow this link to the ADA website for a comprehensive list of all gum brands and specific gum products that are safe for your oral health.

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