As many of us know, saliva helps to keep the mouth moist. Saliva flow increases when we eat, allowing us to chew and swallow our food. It also has a protective effect by neutralizing acid when we eat a carbohydrate that lowers the pH of our mouth and clears away the food after a meal. When we combine saliva flow with chewing sugarless gum it creates a new opportunity to stimulate more salivary flow to neutralize acids from foods eaten1, 2. What does this mean to you? It means that you can decrease the amount of tooth decay by limiting the acid you your teeth come into contact with. After you eat, the pH of your dental plaque becomes acidic for a period of time, weakening teeth and making them susceptible to tooth decay.
A two-year sugarless chewing gum study was conducted on a population of children from third to fifth grade in Europe. Along with non-fluoridated water and regular fluoride toothpaste use, the results after just one year showed children that chewed sugarless sorbitol gum had a 41.7 percent reduction in dental caries compared to the control group of children who did not chew the sorbitol gum3. The study also showed that chewing three pieces of sugarless chewing gum per day was not difficult to maintain.
Prevention is simple. Talk to your dental professional about the smart choices you can make to help improve your oral health through the use of sugarless gum.
1. Park KK, Schemehorn BR, Stookey GK. Effect of time and duration of sorbitol gum chewing on plaque acidogenicity. Pediatr Dent. 1993; 15(3):197-202.
2. Koparal E, Ertugrul F, Sabah E. Effect of chewing gum on plaque acidogenicity. J Clin Pediatr Dent. 2000; 24(2): 129-32.
3. Szoke J, Banoczy J, Proskin HM. Effect of after-meal sucrose-free gum chewing on clinical caries. J Dent Res 80(8): 1725-29, 2001.
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