Is Chewing Gum Really Harmful For Your Teeth?

There has been a lot of back and forth discussion on the effects chewing gum has on your teeth and overall oral health and hygiene. So we're here to set the record straight on what the deal is with chewing gum. 

Chewing gum is no modern delicacy and has appeared in various forms throughout history. It first showed up in ancient times when it was derived from tree saps, and there is evidence northern Europeans were chewing on bark tar some 9,000 years ago. The ancient Mayan were known to chew on a substance called 'chicle', derived from sapodilla tree as a way to satisfy thirst or stave off hunger. Native Americans in North America chewed on spruce tree resin, a tradition that continued on with the European settlers that followed. 

Now these ancient peoples could have wanted something to simply keep their mouth busy and chew on or maybe they were really finding remedies to freshen their breath and even protect their teeth. Either way, these early discoveries eventually paved the way for the fruit, sweet, or refreshing and minty morsels that we love to chew on today.  

Therein lies the problem, the type  of chewing gum you consume is what really determines whether it's benefiting your teeth and oral health or having the opposite effect. There is a category of gum that the ADA Seal recognizes as has demonstrated scientifically that it ca protect teeth. So how are you supposed to know the difference?That's where we can help. 

So you can image, chewing gum that is higher in sugar can put us at a higher risk for developing cavities. Now for the good news, there is clinical research that shows that sugar-free gum has the exact opposite impact and actually can help rinse off and neutralize acids released by plaque! A combination of both the act of chewing and the flavor of the artificial sweetners in the gum can stimulate 10 times the normal rate of saliva flow. This allows for your saliva to help neutralize the acids in your mouth and also wash away food particles, helping keep your teeth clean. 

There's even better news when it comes to chewing sugar-free gum that is sweetened with xylitol. Sugar-free gum sweetened with xylitol has the added benefit of inhibiting the growth of Streptococcus mutans, one of the oral bacteria that causes cavities. In the presence of xylitol, the bacteria lose the ability to adhere to the tooth, stunting the cavity-causing process. With xylitol use over a period of time, the types of bacteria in the mouth change and fewer decay-causing bacteria survive on tooth surfaces. Clinical studies have shown that chewing sugarless gum for 20 minutes following meals can help prevent tooth decay. 

This is one of the major reasons we love our toothpastes, here at Coral Nano. Both of our delicious flavors, Mint & Bubble Berry are made with all natural ingredients including xylitol to fight cavities while keeping your toothpaste flavorful. Some of our other favorite natural ingredients we include in our toothpastes are Gingko Biloba Leaf Extract, Panax Gingseng Root Extract, and Coral Calcium!

Although chewing sugar-free gum can be beneficial in most instances, there are some cases in which chewing gum is not recommended. For example, if you are experiencing any type of jaw pain or temporomandibular disorder symptoms (TMD/TMJ), you should refrain from chewing gum and talk to your dentist about what options are available to you.

For most people, chewing sugar-free gum (especially gum sweetened with xylitol) can be a good preventive measure in situations when toothbrushing and flossing aren't practical, but sugar-free or not, chewing gum should never replace good dental hygiene practices.

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