Our patients often ask whether gum-chewing is a healthy habit for their teeth. In short, the answer depends on the type of gum you choose. While chewing gum containing sugar can increase your chances of developing a cavity, chewing sugar-free gum can sometimes combat these very same risks.
The benefits of sugar-free gum
Chewing sugar-free gum after eating can help neutralize the acid released by bacteria, which is otherwise harmful to tooth enamel, The Academy of General Dentistry explains.
"Both the act of chewing and the flavor of the artificial sweeteners in the gum stimulate ten times the normal rate of saliva flow. Not only does the increased saliva flow neutralize the acids in your mouth, it also washes away food particles, helping to keep your teeth clean," the Academy states.
Xylitol helps reduce decay-causing bacteria
Sugar-free gum that contains xylitol can inhibit the growth of Streptococcus mutans, one of the oral bacteria known to cause cavities. Xylitol causes the bacteria to lose their ability to adhere to the tooth, thereby hindering the cavity-causing process. Over time, xylitol changes the types of bacteria in your mouth, notably leading to fewer decay-causing ones, which are able to survive on tooth surfaces.
If you are looking for a New York City orthodontist, contact Upper Eastside Orthodontists. Dr. Vaysman and her staff offer a variety of treatment options, including Invisalign, suited to your specific needs. To learn more about orthodontics and how you can benefit from such treatment, call 1-888-378-2976. You can also make an appointment online by clicking here.