Does Sugar-Free Gum Help Your Teeth?
Dental health is an essential part of everyday life. Everyone knows about the benefits of brushing, but less common methods of maintaining dental hygiene can still be effective, including chewing sugar-free gum. Here’s what sugar-free gum is and how it affects mouth health.
Basics of Dental Hygiene
Pretty much any dental hygiene practice is designed to control the harmful effects of bacteria. Whenever you eat anything, tiny particles of food get stuck in your mouth. These particles provide nutrients for bacteria which start to grow out of control, leading to substantial plaque buildup.
More than just causing bad breath, this expansion of bacteria also leads to an increased presence of highly corrosive acids as part of their digestive process. These acids break down the protective layer of minerals around your teeth (enamel), leading to cavities, and inflame the gums, resulting in gum disease over a long period.
Hygiene practices, such as brushing, are designed to remove plaque, acids, and leftover food, all of which ultimately culminate in tooth and gum damage.
What Is Sugar-Free Gum?
Sugar-free gum is similar to regular gum, but instead of sugar being a primary flavoring ingredient, there are artificial sweeteners instead. Many varieties contain sugar alcohols, similar to sugars, but have fewer calories and can’t be used as a nutrient source by a wide range of bacteria.
Commonly used sugar alcohols include maltitol and xylitol.
Alternatively, sugar-free gums can contain other types of artificial sweeteners like stevia or acesulfame potassium. You can find them on a generic brand sweetener or a well-known brand such as Trident.
How Does It Help Your Teeth?
There are a variety of ways in which sugar-free chewing gum can positively impact your dental health.
It predominantly works by increasing the rate of saliva produced in the mouth. Whenever your body detects that you’re consuming food, it increases the rate of saliva production to break down nutrients and move food more fluidly.
Whenever saliva is produced in sufficient quantities, it washes away much of the bacteria, acids, and sugars that can be found on the surface of your teeth and between them. This ultimately reduces many of the harmful elements which can cause cavities and gum disease.
Saliva also has some bacteria-inhibiting qualities due to the many enzymes it contains.
Additionally, saliva has minerals that can improve the strength of your teeth, primarily phosphate and calcium.
Are There Downsides to Chewing Sugar-Free Gum?
While there are quite a few benefits to chewing sugar-free gum habitually, there are some potential drawbacks.
The most apparent issue with chewing gum is that it can make your jaw hurt over time. Especially since the resin found within gum hardens the longer it’s chewed, constantly chewing gum can cause your jaw to hurt and make the bottoms of your teeth feel sore near the gumline.
It’s also possible the artificial sweeteners in sugar-free gum might cause digestive issues. Since many sugar substitutes consist of potentially non-digestible molecules, it’s common for stomach upsets or diarrhea to result. In some cases, allergic reactions have occurred.
Is Chewing Sugar-Free Gum a Good Idea?
For most people, chewing sugar-free gum is risk-free mainly and comes with many valuable dental health benefits.
Having a healthy smile is vital, as it’s a great way to boost confidence, and it’s often one of the first things people see when they meet each other.
As such, there’s a lot of incentive to practice adequate dental hygiene. Everyone knows about the benefits of brushing, flossing, and mouthwash, but there are many unconventional ways that teeth can remain clean, and one such way is to consume sugar-free gum.
However, overuse of chewing gum is likely to result in unpleasant digestive side-effects and jaw pain, so moderation is key. And, of course, if you’re allergic to any ingredients in sugar-free gum, you should probably avoid it entirely. To get more information about the dental hygiene and dental health, you can visit here: nord-smil.dk