For anyone who gets regular cavities, or parents of children in this situation, it’s a constant hunt for ways to limit these concerns, and some methods here are less well-known than others. One good example of this is a popular activity that many people don’t connect with oral health at all: Chewing gum. At the offices of Grant Dental, our general dentist preventive oral care services help limit cavities, tooth decay and several related areas. Let’s go over how chewing gum may assist in your efforts to fight cavities, either in your own mouth or in your child’s, plus some important differentiations within the type of gum you consider that could make all the difference.
Gum and Tooth Decay
When gum is chewed, it triggers the saliva glands in the mouth to increase their production levels. Saliva is a vital cavity-fighting tool, helping rinse out food debris and any other particles that may be harboring the sort of harmful bacteria that triggers cavities. The more saliva present in the mouth, the greater the chances that even the smallest of particles – the kind that can harbor millions of germs that lead to tooth decay – will be washed away and will not negatively impact the area.
Sugarless Gum is Preferred
Now, it should be noted that not all gum formats are equal here. In particular, the benefits of chewing gum for reducing cavities may be mitigated or eliminated altogether if the gum in question is sugar-based – this gum is advised against by the American Dental Association, and with good reason. Those same bacteria that saliva is helping get rid of? They also feed on sugar, converting it into an acid that eats away at tooth enamel. Sugarless gum, on the other hand, has several additional benefits. Several types contain aspartame, xylitol, mannitol or other ingredients that specifically neutralize bacteria on their own, this in addition to creating more saliva that washes this bacteria away.
Choosing Proper Gum
When choosing sugarless gum for yourself or your child, ensure you choose a type with the ADA seal of approval. This shows that the product is approved and safe for the mouth. Brands with this seal include certain varieties of Trident, Orbit, Eclipse and Extra.
One small-but-important area of caution here: If you keep sugarless gum around the home and you own a dog, ensure the gum is kept in a place where your canine cannot get to it. Some forms of sugarless gum, particularly those that contain xylitol, can be toxic to dogs and may threaten their life with even a small amount ingested. Just ensure they never have access to it under any circumstances. For more on how sugarless gum helps ward off cavities and tooth decay issues, or to learn about any of our dental services, speak to the staff at the offices of Grant Dental today.