Chewing gum has been around for thousands of years. Both the ancient Mayans and Aztecs chewed a substance called chicle to clean teeth, get rid of bad breathe, fight hunger, and quench thirst. But can modern-day chewing gum be good for your health? Actually, sugar-free gum can offer certain advantages for oral health and beyond. Keep reading to learn more about the five benefits of chewing gum — including one or two that might surprise you.
5 Benefits Of Chewing Gum
Medically Reviewed By Colgate Global Scientific Communications
1. Combating Bad Breath
We've all experienced bouts of bad breath. Strong-smelling foods like garlic, onions, and spices can leave a bad taste in your mouth and a foul odor in your nose. But bad breath can also be a symptom of more serious oral health conditions like gum disease or dry mouth. While flavored chewing gums won't cure these conditions, they can help mask bad breath quickly. Pop in a piece of your favorite minty sugar-free gum the next time you need some bad breath relief.
2. Preventing Tooth Decay
According to an experiment in the Journal of Oral Science, participants who chewed gum with the sugar-free sweetener xylitol had less oral bacteria in their mouth shortly after chewing. The American Dental Association (ADA) also states that people can reduce their tooth decay risk by chewing sugar-free gum right after eating.
Remember that gum isn't a substitute for regular brushing and cleaning between your teeth with floss, water flossers, interdental cleaners, and other products. Proper oral hygiene helps prevent plaque, gingivitis, tartar, cavities, and bad breath. Chewing sugar-free gum after dinner can help remove food and bacteria from your teeth until you make it to your toothbrush.
3. Increasing Saliva Flow
Another significant benefit of chewing gum is that it can relieve the discomfort of dry mouth. Saliva does a lot of good for your mouth, and chewing gum helps promote saliva flow. People with dry mouths may experience discomfort eating, swallowing, or speaking. When you chew, your jaw muscles push on your salivary glands, releasing saliva. So, by chewing gum regularly, you can help increase saliva and relieve the symptoms of dry mouth.
4. Whitening Teeth
You might wonder: Does chewing gum whiten teeth? Many habits can lead to discoloration on teeth surfaces, including drinking coffee and smoking. Thankfully, whitening products can help remove some surface stains, including toothpaste, at-home whitening kits, and even chewing gum.
Several whitening chewing gums exist in stores today. These products are chewed after meals to help wash away food particles that could cause stains by stimulating salivary flow. Then, the whitening ingredients coat the teeth to help prevent future staining. As a bonus, teeth whitening treatments have also been known to increase teeth sensitivity, and chewing gum might help with that, too!
5. Stress relief
Research suggests that chewing gum can also relieve the stress of daily life. According to a study published in the Journal of Clinical and Translational Research, participants who chewed gum regularly over a more extended period reported feeling less stressed than participants who didn't chew gum.
Even more, recent innovations like CBD chewing gum also boast anti-anxiety benefits. Preliminary research published in Neurotherapeutics suggests that cannabidiol (CBD) could be a potential treatment for anxiety disorders. And many people self-report CBD gum to help with a range of conditions — from social anxiety to obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). Further studies are being done on this topic, and you should always consult with your doctor before making a transition.
When you intake CBD through chewing gum, it's absorbed through your cheek and goes directly into your bloodstream. This higher bioavailability could help increase CBD levels in the bloodstream, which might help you relax and reduce stress more quickly. Plus, CBD could offer other advantages for oral health as well.
Not only is chewing sugar-free gum just enjoyable, but it also comes with some major oral benefits — from battling bad breath to fighting tooth decay. Plus, the flavor options are endless. Remember that chewing gum shouldn't replace your oral care routine — keep brushing and flossing those teeth — but it certainly can provide a healthy treat after a meal.
This article is intended to promote understanding of and knowledge about general oral health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your dentist or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment.