Does Chewing Gum Actually Help Clean Your Teeth?
By: Hilary Mayne, D.D.S.
Chewing gum is tasty and fun to chew, but did you know that chewing sugarless gum has dental benefits too?
The American Dental Association (ADA) recognizes that sugarless gum indeed helps to prevent tooth decay, especially after eating. Studies have found that chewing sugarless gum increases the flow of saliva in your mouth, which can help dilute sugars and food particles. The saliva can neutralize and rid your mouth of harmful acids that are produced when the bacteria on your teeth breaks down the food you eat. If this acid is not removed, then over time it can break down tooth enamel and cause tooth decay.
In general, chewing gum increases the flow of saliva in your mouth. This increase in saliva also carries more calcium than regular saliva, which helps to strengthen tooth enamel.
Chewing Gum is No Replacement for Brushing Teeth
Chewing sugarless gum can be an aid to your daily dental hygiene routine, but does not replace brushing and flossing. If you cannot brush your teeth immediately after a meal, then chewing gum can help to help with the breakdown of the harmful bacteria on your teeth until you are able to properly brush your teeth. Chewing gum may reach the surfaces of your teeth, but it does not reach in between your teeth as flossing does.
Although chewing sugarless gum can help keep your teeth cleaner in the short-term, there is no substitute for brushing and flossing your teeth every day. In addition to taking care of your teeth by maintaining good everyday dental hygiene habits, seeing your dentist and dental hygienist twice a year for exams will help keep your mouth healthy by preventing more serious issues.