A lot of people love chewing gum, but how good is it for our teeth? You would think that chewing gum can’t be great for your teeth, since it’s a lot like a sticky, sweet candy that can cause cavities and other problems. However, chewing gum can be beneficial. Here’s what you need to know.
When is Chewing Gum Good for Teeth?
Chewing gum can increase your risk of cavities, however chewing gum can help increase saliva in your mouth, which helps with things like washing away acid. When you are chewing gum, it can fight dental erosion due to the elevated saliva production.
Is all Gum Good?
If you’re looking to chew gum and keep your teeth healthy, you shouldn’t just use any gum you can buy at the checkout aisle of the grocery store. Instead, look for sugar-free options. With traditional sugar removed, this type of gum carries far less risk of cavities.
The American Dental Association explains that sugar-free gum contains less than .5g of sugars per serving. Rather than using sugar, the ingredients list usually contains a more intense artificial sweetener like Sucralose or aspartame. Sometimes, natural sweeteners like stevia are used. These sweeteners are non-cariogenic, which means they are not metabolized well by the bacteria that causes plaque. In addition, they also contain less calories.
Since sugar-free gum can help decrease plaque buildup, it can help keep your teeth clean. The ADA goes on to explain that the physical act of chewing promotes a saliva flow. With that, chewing sugar-free gum can stimulate the flow of saliva by up to 12 times the unstimulated rate.
Risk of Cavities
Cavities, also known as tooth decay or dental caries, are all too common among all ages. Dental caries can happen at any age, which means everyone should be vigilant in trying to prevent tooth decay. Chewing gum filled with sugary flavors can cause cavities, just like eating candy or drinking soda and not cleaning your teeth properly.
There are three types of cavities according to Colgate:
- Coronal cavities – this is the most common type of cavity among all ages, and are usually found on chewing surfaces or between the teeth
- Root cavities – this typically happens in older individuals with receding gums, which can leave the root exposed making them easily susceptible to decay
- Recurrent decay – this type of cavity usually forms around fillings and crowns that can easily accumulate plaque, which causes decay
Signs of Cavities
Cavities can come along with painful symptoms. The most common symptoms of cavities include toothaches and sensitivity that can be escalated when drinking hot or cold drinks. In some instances, you may be able to see a hole and staining in the tooth that’s causing you pain.
Cavity Treatment and Prevention
The best way to prevent cavities is to practice proper dental hygiene. Be sure to brush your teeth twice a day for two minutes each time. We also recommend flossing at least once a day to help remove excess plaque from hard to reach places. Another way to prevent cavities is to see your dentist twice a year. Your dentist can see those hidden spots in the mouth where cavities could be developing, and can help stop them in their tracks.
If you want to really prevent cavities, pay close attention to your diet. Limit high-sugar, high-carb foods and avoid sugary juices and drinks. Sugar attracts bacteria, and bacteria clings to it. If you do eat and drink these foods, be sure to really clean your teeth well to help remove and reduce plaque.
When a cavity develops, your dentist can help treat the problem. The dentist will begin by numbing the area being treated, then they will remove the decayed part of the tooth and replace it with a composite resin filling.
Risks of Leaving Cavities Untreated
If left untreated, a cavity can progress and develop into something serious. When enough time passes, an infection can develop. When the tooth becomes infected, it has the potential to kill the pulp of the tooth. When this happens, your only option might be to have the tooth removed.
Keeping Your Mouth Healthy with Niles Family Dentistry
If you want to develop a better oral health care routine, or need a cavity treated, call Niles Family Dentistry today at (720)-745-0001. Seeing a dentist regularly will help you learn more about your mouth and teach you proper dental hygiene techniques. The best course of action is prevention. Get your oral health back on track with the team at Niles today.