People have been chewing gum since the earliest days of human civilization, when the first gums were derived from tree sap. It wasn’t until the early 20th century that chewing-gum manufacturers added sweeteners and flavors. Millions of Americans got in on the bubble-gum craze and, let’s face it, our teeth suffered.
As a result, chewing gum has gotten a bit of a bad rap over the years. Why is your Kansas City family dentist advising you to chew gum? When you choose your gum wisely – opting for sugar-free gum that has the ADA seal of approval – chewing gum can have amazing benefits!
It helps freshen your breath. Sure, a minty gum will help to freshen your breath with a clean, crisp mint smell, but that’s not the only way that chewing sugar-free gum improves your breath. A dry mouth leads to worse breath – one reason your breath may be bad first thing in the morning – and chewing gum helps stimulate the production of saliva, which reduces those effects and acts as your mouth’s first line of defense.
It helps clean your teeth. Don’t have a toothbrush handy? Not to worry! Chewing sugar-free gum can help keep your smile looking great by scrubbing leftover particles of food from your teeth. It even helps get into hard-to-reach places, though you should still brush and floss when you get home.
It helps curb your craving for sweets or snacks. Snacking isn’t just bad for your waistline; it’s also no good for your teeth. If you’re eating foods that are high in sugar, you’re creating a perfect recipe for plaque and gingivitis. Fortunately, if you find yourself with a craving, you can just reach for some sugar-free gum instead.
It helps break bad habits. If you’re smoking, vaping, or chewing tobacco, that’s bad for your health and bad for your teeth. Unfortunately, these bad habits can be hard to break. Luckily, chewing gum is one way to help replace an unhealthy habit with a healthy one. When you feel a craving for an unhealthy tobacco product, reach for sugar-free gum instead.
It helps prevent cavities. Chewing gum helps trigger the production of saliva, which is your mouth’s first line of defense against cavities and other oral health problems. Saliva not only helps to wash away particles of food, it also begins the process of breaking down sugars, acids, and other harmful substances.
It can even help reduce heartburn and nausea. Do you suffer from acid reflux, heartburn, or other digestive issues after a meal? You may be surprised to learn that chewing a stick of sugar-free gum after you eat might help. Chewing gum helps to reduce the amount of acid in your esophagus, which can soothe heartburn and reflux. Choose sugar-free gums that taste like mint or ginger, which are natural remedies for an upset stomach or nausea.
The best way to derive full benefit from chewing gum is to select sugar-free gum that has the ADA Seal of Acceptance and keep a pack with you wherever you go. Chewing gum probably isn’t for everybody, however. Check with your orthodontist first if you wear braces to make sure the gum won’t damage them. If you suffer from jaw pain or temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders, you may experience discomfort with chewing gum.
If you need help finding the gum that’s right for you or just want to ask about other lifestyle changes you can make to help benefit your overall health, call your Kansas City family dentist at (816) 763-8400 today or click here to schedule an appointment. Blacker Family Dental can help with all your dental needs, from dental implants and cosmetic dentistry to sleep apnea.