Is Gum Healthy for My Teeth?

Close up of the mouth of a brunette woman blowing a pink gum bubble against a red wall

It’s easy to reach for a piece of refreshingly minty gum if you’re experiencing bad breath or just want to quickly relieve stress by chewing, but have you ever stopped to wonder if you’re actually doing more harm to your oral health by chewing gum? Here’s how to pick a gum that’s both tasty and good for your teeth.

How Sugar Affects Teeth

Gum wouldn’t be as good if it wasn’t sweet, but sugar can be harmful to your teeth. When sugar comes into contact with bacteria and plaque on the surface of your teeth, the bacteria release acid that in turn can eat away at your enamel, or the protective outer layer of your teeth. Chewing gum that contains sugar is especially damaging to your teeth because gum constantly lingers around and sticks to your teeth, maximizing your mouth’s exposure to sugar.

Sugar-Free Gum

Gum lovers don’t need to stop chewing the sticky stuff altogether just to save their teeth. Sugar-free gum contains a sugar replacement called xylitol, which is actually beneficial for your teeth because it helps neutralize harmful acids in your mouth and can even minimize the amount of cavity-causing bacteria!

Check ingredient labels to see if the gum you’re buying contains xylitol and also check to see if the package has an ADA (American Dental Association) seal. If it does, that means it’s dentist-approved and safe for your teeth!

When Not to Chew Gum

Chewing sugar-free gum is safe and healthy for your teeth, but there are some instances when chewing gum is probably not the best idea. If you have jaw issues or disorders like temporomandibular joint dysfunction, it is best not to put your jaw through that extra chewing.

Sugar-Free Gum Shouldn’t Replace Oral Hygiene

Sugar-free gum is a quick and easy way to freshen your breath and an added layer of protection against harmful bacteria on your teeth, but it should never replace regular brushing and flossing! Be sure to visit your dentist twice a year for cleanings and examinations to ensure that your oral health is in good shape.

If you have any questions or concerns about your oral health, let us take care of you! Springs Village Dentistry offers comprehensive dental care services using state-of-the-art technology. Contact us to schedule an appointment!

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