Keys to promoting healthy teeth and gums: brushing, flossing, regular dental visits…..and chewing gum? According to clinical studies, including a report by the British Dental Journal in 2016, chewing sugar-free gum for 20 minutes after meals can eliminate cavity-causing bacteria from your mouth, and thus prevent tooth decay. Chewing gum causes your mouth to produce When you chew gum, you produce more saliva, which helps to irrigate your mouth and flush away food debris and bacteria that can cause decay and cavities. Saliva also contains potassium and calcium, so the more that your mouth produces, the more it strengthens your teeth, hardens your tooth enamel, and increases bone density in your jawbones. It also helps neutralize plaque acids to help maintains the optimum pH in your mouth.
But it’s imperative that you make sure it’s sugar-free gum. While chewing sugar-containing gum increases saliva flow as well, the sugar fuels plaque bacteria to produce decay-causing acids. Your best bet is to look for chewing gum with the ADA Seal, which will guarantee it’s sugarless. Such gums use non-cavity causing sweeteners such as xylitol, sorbitol or mannitol.
Never let chewing sugarless gum replace brushing and flossing — the ADA recommends brushing twice a day with fluoride toothpaste and cleaning plaque from between your teeth once a day with dental floss. Chewing sugar-free gum is merely a complementary activity.
In addition to its oral health benefits, other scientific research indicates chewing gum may have additional health benefits as well, including:
- Improved memory
- Increased blood flow to the brain (by as much as 25 percent to 40 percent during gum chewing)
- Elevated heartbeat and blood pressure just enough to wake up both left-and right brain hemispheres to work together
- Reduced symptoms of stress
- Weight management (it is proven to reduce cravings for high-calorie snacks help people to eat less)
- Improved digestion (helps with intestinal motility and more frequent swallowing due to the extra salive, which helps to prevent reflux of acid from the stomach back into the throat.