North River Dental Care

Is Gum Bad for Your Teeth?

Blonde woman blows a pink sugar-free gum bubble against a yellow background

When you think about gum, you may think that your dentist wouldn’t like you chewing it. However, here we’re going to discuss how a certain type of gum is not bad for your teeth, but is actually beneficial. Read on to discover which kind of gum is safe for your oral health!

Sugar vs. Sugar-Free

Chewing gum is only good for your teeth if it’s sugarless. Do not chew gum that contains sugar or you will be harming your teeth by allowing the sugar to linger in your mouth. This sugar is then eaten by your oral bacteria, which produce acidic byproducts that will weaken your tooth enamel. And weak tooth enamel is more prone to tooth decay, cavities, and sensitivity.

Can Sugar-Free Gum Help Clean Your Teeth?

Studies have found that when you chew sugarless gum for at least 20 minutes after you’ve eaten, the gum can help prevent cavities. This is because as you chew the sugarless gum, it removes food particles from the surface of your teeth, which, if left there, can be turned into cavity-causing acids by the bacteria in your mouth. Even the simple act of chewing helps your teeth because it stimulates your salivary flow. As saliva rinses your teeth, it remineralizes your enamel and neutralizes any acids that can weaken the enamel.

Xylitol

A natural sugar replacement found in many sugar-free gums is called xylitol. Bacteria cannot break xylitol down, this sugar-free sweetener helps reduce the amount of cavity-causing bacteria that’s in your mouth. Similarly, when you’re chewing sugarless gum with xylitol, bacteria are less likely to stick on your teeth and accumulate into plaque. Less plaque buildup not only means less decay, but also that you are less likely to develop gum disease and tooth discoloration. However, keep in mind that chewing sugar-free gum is never a substitute for daily brushing and flossing!

CPP-ACP

There is another ingredient used in some sugar-free gum that can help harden your enamel. This substance is called casein phosphopeptide-amorphous calcium phosphate (CPP-ACP). This ingredient is a great addition to sugarless gum because it remineralizes your tooth enamel by itself, even without the help of your saliva. So when you chew gum with CPP-ACP, you take advantage of powerful enamel-strengthening benefits of both CPP-ACP and saliva!

If you have any other questions about the benefits of chewing sugar-free gum, give us a call.

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