Today, the supermarket’s candy shelves are full of chewing gum options. There’s gum that will freshen your breath and, at the other end of the spectrum, there’s gum marketed directly to kids with all the bright colors and lots of sugar. When it comes to proper dental health, we are frequently asked about chewing gum and if it’s bad for your oral health. We know people are serious about their dental care when they consult with our dental experts at Dobson Ranch Dental Care, so today we are sharing what you need to know when selecting a chewing gum.

Not All Gum Is Bad.

If you’ve steered clear of chewing gum because of all the sugar, you’ve done yourself a favor. Many brands contain a lot of sugar, leading to cavities and tooth decay for habitual chewers. Other brands contain artificial sweeteners like aspartame, which is thought to be linked to some cancers. Still, not all chewing gum is terrible.

When looking for a good option, read the label and select a sugar-free brand. You can take it a step further and look for the ingredient Xylitol, which can help fight off tooth decay. Xylitol slows the growth of the bacteria called Streptococcus mutans, the same bacteria responsible for cavities.

Recent studies suggest another ingredient in gum called calcium lactate can also help boost the helpful minerals that strengthen tooth enamel. But no matter which package you choose, our dental experts agree that sugar-free is the way to go.

What Are the Benefits of Chewing Gum?

If you’re worried about all the negatives surrounding the idea of chewing gum, we’re here to tell you it’s not all bad. In fact, there are plenty of oral health benefits that might just persuade you to chew a stick now and then. Chewing gum encourages the saliva glands in your mouth to produce more saliva. Saliva is our natural mouthwash and helps keep our teeth and gums clean and free of bacteria. Not only does extra saliva help rinse food and sugars from between our molars, but the enzymes produced in saliva also help our stomach digest food. So, if you find yourself unable to brush your teeth after a meal or need something in between flossing, try chewing on some gum. It’s better than nothing.

When Should I Avoid Gum?

Chewing gum isn’t for everyone, and we advise all of our patients to exercise caution. You should avoid chewing gum if you have braces since the gum will get snagged on the brackets and is difficult to remove. You should also give it a hard pass if you suffer from any jaw pain or Temporomandibular joint disorders (TMJ). The chewing motion can make these symptoms worse. Furthermore, we discourage gum chewing for anyone who has had extensive dental work, such as crowns, fillings, or bridges. Gum is also a no-go for those with partial or full dentures, as the suction and stickiness of the gum can cause these fixtures to come loose.

Book Your Next Exam.

Dobson Ranch Dental Care is now open and booking new patient appointments. If you haven’t been in to see us this year, we highly recommend booking your appointment soon. We proudly serve residents throughout Mesa, AZ. Whether you’re looking for a regular cleaning, teeth whitening, or new dentures, we’ve got you covered! Contact us today at (480) 838-8558.