Embrace the Mint: Chewing Gum Can Help Prevent Tooth Decay
Hey there, Clearwater! It’s great to see you back and excited for another dental blog from Clearwater Dental Associates, where we use this magnificent and convenient forum to give you the information you need in order to make healthy choices when it come to oral hygiene.
In our last blog wrote about the dangers and benefits of drinking coffee. Your are likely well aware of the risks coffee presents to your smile. Repeated and regular consumption of coffee will leave your teeth with a dull yellow tint. However, with proper dental care and healthy hygiene habits, you can still enjoy a cup of coffee with worrying about the damage to your smile. In fact, drinking coffee, as long as you don’t add sugar or cream, could be good for your oral health by fight the dental caries that cause tooth decay.
As with coffee, chewing gum has a somewhat nasty reputation when it comes to oral health, but it too may offer some benefits to your teeth and gums. It all depends on how you use it.
It is important to be clear that we are talking about sugarless gum throughout this blog. Gum sweetened with sugar may be delicious, but it one of the worst things you can subject your teeth to. Sugarless gum, however, has its good points and its bad. So, lets shed a little light on them both.
The Ill Effects of Chewing Sugarless Gum
Chewing gum has been considered a childish and unsanitary habit for a long time. It certainly can produce some unappealing side effects, and we don’t mean sticking to your feet when you step in it.
The constant chewing motion involved in chewing sugarless gum can overwork your jaw muscles. Just like any muscle, when they become strained from overuse, your jaw muscles become sore. Chewing gum for a long period of time can also cause neck pain and headaches. Although there is no evidence that chewing sugarless gum can cause TMJ disorders, it will, without question, worsen the symptoms.
Since sugarless gum is, by definition, sticky, it can cause problems for any dental hardware you may have. Be it crowns or fillings, chewing gum can loosen their fit, and in extreme cases, pull them out. However, this typically only happens if the dental work is old and already seeing some wear and tear.
How Chewing Sugarless Gum Can Help You
One definite benefit to chewing sugarless gum is that it stimulates saliva production. This is especially helpful after a meal. It is not wise to brush your teeth directly after eating because the acids in your food weaken your enamel, and brushing your teeth while they are in state could do serious damage.
So, instead of brushing, you can chew sugarless gum for about twenty minutes after eating. The stickiness of the gum will pull food particles off your teeth, while your saliva will neutralize the acid and fight the dental caries responsible for tooth decay.
Try to chew a gum sweetened with the plant based xylitol. This chemical, which is commonly used as a sugar substitute in gum, has been shown to help repair teeth with a process called remineralization. It also makes it harder for plaque to stick to your teeth. Since plaque often harbors bacteria, this will help keep your teeth safe from decay.
Come See Us In Clearwater, FL
As always, regular visits to Clearwater Dental Associates will help you maintain strong oral health. So, contact us today schedule a cleaning.