Dental opinions are divided on the positive effects of chewing gum on our teeth and oral hygiene. Some recommend it, some don't and we have also heard of a country where chewing gum has been banned. In the next article, we will explore this myth!
The habit comes from our ancestors
Chewing gum has been widespread in various ancient cultures for thousands of years, certainly not in its “modern” form today. The American Indians chewed the resin of the spruce, while the ancient Greeks also chewed a type of resin, the mastic, for a pleasant, fresh breath.
Interestingly, the mastic is still used in dentistry to this day, but only externally (e.g., soaking its ethereal solution in cotton wool).
Refined, pre-processed foods and increased sugar consumption are a major threat to the integrity of our teeth.
Because sugar is also a carbohydrate, the bacteria in the mouth form an acid during a breakdown. The more sugar a food contains, the more acid is produced that alkaline saliva can no longer neutralize. As a negative result of this process, there is a higher chance of damaged tooth enamel, gums and tooth decay.
The process can be stopped by not allowing the pH of the oral cavity to drop. Sugar-free chewing gum can help us with this.
Sugar-free chewing gum
Perhaps surprisingly, sugar-free chewing gum, while adhering to proper and regular oral care habits, contributes to healthy oral hygiene.
Xylitol-containing chewing gums stimulate salivation and also have an antibacterial effect. Thus, a few minutes of chewing will help to dilute the acids that are dangerous to your teeth and mouth.
Additional benefits of sugar-free chewing gum:
- Neutralizes digestive juices harmful to tooth enamel
- It removes food debris and plaque, thus preventing the formation of tartar.
- Reduces dry mouth
- It helps to incorporate the necessary minerals into the teeth
- It is convenient and easy to apply in everyday life.
Disadvantages of sugar-free chewing gum
- Research suggests that excessive chewing gum can harm jaw loosening. That is why if you feel facial muscle pain, it is worth resting for a few days to chew or consult a specialist.
- Chewing gum can also cause a lot of discomforts when it gets stuck in a filling, prosthesis and destroys it.
Interestingly, there was a time in Singapore that chewing gum was banned, only with certain restrictions could this product be sold or consumed. This was because there were heavy costs involved in removing spit chews in public areas. Although we can already buy chews in pharmacies when we are in Singapore, let us know that spitting it out on the street is still severely punished to this day.
Of course, sugar-free chewing gum is by no means a substitute for regular brushing with proper technique, nor does it trigger additional oral care habits.