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Franklyn Alexander, DDS
General & Cosmetic Dentistry

Patients Choice Winner 2016

Does Sugar-Free Gum Prevent Tooth Decay?

Do you enjoy chewing gum but worry about what it could do to your teeth? Research studies show that sugar-free gum can actually help with cavity and decay prevention. Although it shouldn’t replace regular oral hygiene, chewing gum can be a healthy habit.

How Does Gum Help With Cavities?

There is research to support the concept that chewing sugar-free gum can play a role in the prevention of cavities. How does it work? When you eat, the bacteria in your mouth break down the food into acids. The acids gradually wear away at tooth enamel, which makes the teeth more susceptible to cavities and decay.

The act of chewing stimulates saliva production up to ten times the normal rate. Saliva works to neutralize these harmful acids and wash them away. Saliva also carries with it calcium and phosphate, which strengthen the enamel of teeth. However, gum that contains sugar can actually contribute to the development of cavities, so it’s important to choose sugar-free gum.

Consider ADA-approved Gum

The American Dental Association awards a seal to gum that is backed by scientific research to be effective for:

  • reducing acids
  • cutting back on cavities
  • strengthening tooth enamel
  • reducing gingivitis

To gain the seal, the manufacturer must present both laboratory research and clinical studies done in humans. The seal let’s you know that the ADA has already checked the claims made by the company about their gum.

When Should You Chew Gum?

The best time to chew is after a meal to help wash away extra food particles. There are certain cases when chewing gum is not recommended. If you’re experiencing jaw pain or have TMJ, repetitive chewing motions aren’t advisable.

Even though gum can be helpful between meals, it isn’t a sufficient replacement for proper oral hygiene practices. There is still nothing better than brushing or flossing when it comes to cavity and decay prevention.