Chewing gum has been a part of human civilization for centuries. Earlier records showed the use of tree sap as chewing gum. However, we came very far from that, as we now use a mixture of synthetic and natural ingredients for our gums. Nonetheless, how gums have evolved is the least of our concerns, as we will discuss how they affect our oral health. We will consider the effect of both chewing gums that use sugar and those which don’t.
Sugar V.S Sugar-Free Gums:
Some gums are sweetened through the use of sugars. However, sugar-free gums don’t sweeten their zest with sugar. Instead, they comprise artificial sweeteners. These can be compound like Xylitol that sweetens the flavor but takes time to digest. Hence, they have limited effect in promoting the growth of plaque bacteria.
Chewing Gums And Plaque Bacteria:
Chewing gums with sugars slowly releases sugar in your oral cavity—bacteria found in plaque pounce on this inflow of sugar and feast on it. As a result, plaque PH lowers due to the formation of acid. However, when the PH stoops below the critical value of 5.5, your enamel starts to feel its effects. Below the critical value, the process of enamel demineralization commences. Therefore, the longer we chew the gum, the longer our enamel has to suffer.
On the contrary, sugar-free gums use sweeteners that are difficult for plaque bacteria to metabolize. Hence, the PH of your oral cavity won’t change much. In a nutshell, sugared gums have a prominent role to play in the decay of your tooth.
Chewing Gum And Saliva Production:
The act of chewing doesn’t only get your jaw muscles to work, but it also works up your salivary gland. Hence, chewing stimulates salivary glands and amps up the production of saliva. Saliva flushes down the acid in the mouth. Furthermore, it can also help remineralize your enamel. Thus, chewing gum is recommended for dry mouth.
Chewing gum can increase the production of saliva by 11-12 times. However, in the long run, the effect diminishes. That is, the saliva boost due to chewing gum is short-lived. Hence, it’s better to try chewing gum after a meal to aid digestion and steer clear of plaque bacteria. Interestingly, according to research, sugared and flavored gums are better at stimulating saliva production. However, by using sugared gums, you risk enamel erosion.
Chewing Gum And Bad Breath:
Many chewing gums host flavors that can help you mask bad breath. However, the greatest contribution to stave off bad breath comes from increased saliva production. Saliva can effectively flush plaque bacteria that causes bad breath in the first place.
Only sugar-free gums get the seal of ADA due to their non-cariogenic nature. We know that chewing gum can help you clear your mouth, but more research is needed in that aspect. Therefore, don’t leave the side of three horsemen of oral hygiene: brushing, flossing, and mouthwash. Moreover, it’s important to visit a dentist for regular checkups. Therefore, visit Brookshire Smile Dental for your checkup or call us at 281-934-1010 for appointments.