17 Feb Chewing Gum for Oral Health
Some good news for gum chewers! Turns out that by chewing gum you actually promote good dental hygiene in the same way as flossing and brushing your teeth. Chewing gum has been found to have effects on appetite control, mood, alertness, and cognitive performance, but the effects of gum chewing on oral care have not been touched upon much, but current research now shows that chewing gum can remove bacteria from the oral cavity. According to a recent study published in the PLOS ONE journal, when you chew gum for up to 10 minutes you can actually remove around 100 million bacteria, or about 10 percent of the microbial load in saliva, in the mouth. This shows that chewing gum is on par with a toothbrush, since previous research has proven that using a new toothbrush, sans toothpaste, can remove around 100 million bacteria per brushing session. However, one must keep in mind that this only applies to sugar-free gum, which can help reduce the formation of oral biofilms on teeth, as sugar will only feed the bacteria in the mouth and will encourage plaque bacteria that produces decay-causing acids.
The ADA (American Dental Association) warns that chewing gum is not a substitute for brushing and flossing; brushing twice a day and cleaning plaque from between your teeth once a day with dental floss is still recommended. Even though chewing sugar-free gum could be just as effective as flossing, it targets different areas of the mouth; chewing gum does not remove bacteria from the same places as flossing and brushing. When purchasing sugarless gum, look for the ADA Seal which will ensure that the gum is sugarless, since gums with the ADA Seal are not sweetened with cavity-causing sweeteners. If the gum does not have the ADA seal, make sure to read the ingredient label to look for natural sweeteners such as xylitol, sorbitol, or mannitol.
Need some assistance? Listed below are some mouth-friendly alternatives, you can purchase online or at your local health food store.