Why chewing gum can actually be good for your teeth.
Back in the days of super-sugary formulas, chewing gum got a pretty bad rap. However, as long as you’re making the right choices, it can actually help to clean your teeth! The act of chewing gum increases the flow of saliva in your mouth, and this washes away food particles that would otherwise cling to the surfaces of your teeth. Increased saliva flow also neutralizes the acids in your mouth after eating.
To get the benefits of gum chewing, it’s all in the kind of gum you choose! Here’s a checklist to keep in mind when you’re standing in front of the rack at the grocery store:
- Obviously, sugar-free is a must. This is most likely not a surprise to you, but gum that contains sugar is always a no-go. Read about how sugar affects your teeth here.
- Look for xylitol. Some chewing gum now contains a sugar replacement called xylitol, which actually prevents cavity-causing bacteria from adhering to your teeth.
- Look for casein. Another ingredient, casein, may have positive effects on the strength of your tooth enamel.
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While all of this is good news, it’s important to remember that chewing gum should never replace proper dental hygiene – that’s twice-daily brushing and flossing, and regular professional cleanings. Click here to see our guide to tooth brushing and toothpastes, here to read about how to learn to love flossing (or at least not hate it), and here to book your hygiene appointment. And lastly, remember that everything should be enjoyed in moderation – too much gum chewing can lead to jaw joint pain and muscle stiffness, so chew wisely!