Is Chewing Gum Bad for Your Teeth?

Oct 25, 2021

Along with mouthwash and practicing regular oral hygiene habits, chewing gum is one of the most popular and fun ways to help kick bad breath. Due to the fact that gum labels boast statements like fresh, white, and clean, it’s common to believe that all gum will leave your mouth cleaner after chewing. Since 59% of the United States population regularly chews gum, it’s important to differentiate healthy habits from unhealthy habits.

While it is true that some gum contains properties that improve your oral health, this is not true in all cases. In fact, attributes such as ingredients, personal health history, and even time of day can all affect how gum impacts your teeth. Let’s explore the pros and cons that chewing gum may have on your oral health.

Positive Oral Health Effects of Chewing Gum

First and foremost, all chewing gum promotes saliva flow, but sugarless gum promotes saliva that actually prevents tooth decay. Clinical studies have shown that chewing sugarless gum after eating a meal neutralizes bacteria and provides disease-fighting substances throughout the mouth. Increased saliva flow also strengthens tooth enamel by promoting calcium and phosphate throughout the mouth.

Sugar-free gum that contains Xylitol also helps prevent cavities. Xylitol, a natural sweetener found in fruit, vegetables, and berries, can even help reverse tooth decay by assisting minerals to reach your tooth enamel. By preventing bacteria growth that would typically cause tooth decay, Xylitol reduces the number of bad bacteria in the mouth by up to 75%. Dentists recommend chewing sugarless gum for roughly 20 minutes after eating to retain the oral health benefits from the gum.

The reduction of harmful bacteria in your mouth also results in fresh breath. In addition to the benefits sugar-free gum has on your oral health, it also provides other general health benefits such as:

  • Reduces heartburn
  • Prevents ear infections in children
  • Helps individuals quit smoking
  • Can help individuals lose weight
  • Can help boost memory and reduce stress

It’s important to note that these health benefits are seen in those who chew sugarless gum, rather than gum containing sugar, as it’s clear to observe vast health differentiation in these two forms of gum.

Negative Oral Health Effects of Chewing Gum

Sugary gum, on the other hand, increases the production of acids attacking your tooth enamel. Gum that contains sugar introduces plaque to your increased saliva flow which produces decay-causing acids throughout your mouth. This often leads to tooth decay and erosion, which is why it’s so important to floss and brush after chewing sugary gum.

Excessively chewing gum can also wear down your tooth enamel, leading to tooth deformities and changes to jaw alignment. Long-term excessive gum chewing can result in an overbite and teeth sensitivity to hot and cold food.

While sugar-free gum primarily provides oral health benefits, it is important to look out for harmful sugar substitutes on the ingredient’s label. Aspartame, a common sugar substitute, assists the production of formaldehyde in the body, causing reactions such as dizziness and headaches. Other common harmful ingredients to look out for are Titanium Dioxide and Butylated Hydroxytoluene.

Chewing gum is also linked to negative overall health effects such as:

  • Headaches and migraines
  • Jaw disorders (i.e. Temporomandibular Disorder)

Conclusion

Chewing gum can be bad for your teeth if you chew excessively or choose sugary gum. If you choose sugar-free gum that doesn’t contain harmful substitutes, gum can actually provide several benefits to your oral health. Choosing to chew sugar-free gum after a meal can support saliva flow, strengthen tooth enamel, reduce the risk of cavities, and promote fresher breath.

How GumChucks Can Help

While sugar-free gum can improve the health of your teeth, flossing is a much more impactful long-term benefit to your oral health. GumChucks’ design ensures a flossing experience that’s faster, easier, and more effective than competing flossers or traditional floss. Our two handles with disposable floss allow you to comfortably reach all your teeth, even those in the back while wrapping the floss around each tooth. This creates the vital “C-Shape” necessary to get below the gum line and effectively clean each tooth.

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