You've seen the advertisements: a good-looking couple locks lips because their chewing gum gives them not only minty breath, but also an irresistible, perfect smile. If only it were that easy, you may think. But it's true that sugar-free gum can do more than freshen your breath: it can actually help improve your oral health. These are just a few benefits of sugarless gum.
Sugarless gum refreshes your breath on the go, but it can also be used as an alternative way to fend off cavities. In fact, the South African Dental Association (SADA) reports that studies show that chewing sugarless gum for 20 minutes after a meal can prevent tooth cavities. It works by boosting the flow of saliva in your mouth, which washes away food and neutralizes acids. Saliva also contains additional calcium and phosphate to support the strengthening of enamel. Chewing gums containing sugar also increase saliva flow, but plaque germs use the sugar contained in them to produce acidic by-products. Stick with a sugar-free version for your best bet in countering cavities with gum.
Fluoride-containing toothpaste and mouthwash are top products to strengthen teeth. Did you know that sugarless gum has a similar effect? When you chew a sugar-free gum sweetened with xylitol, the acids left behind on your teeth from foods and drinks are reduced. The gum also promotes healthy teeth and prevents enamel erosion by supplying minerals to your teeth. With stronger enamel, your teeth have a better chance against cavities.
Another major plus for sugar-free gum is that it can reduce tooth sensitivity caused by in-office teeth whitening. Patients who chewed sugarless gum after having their teeth whitened had significantly less tooth sensitivity compared to study participants who did not chew gum. Researchers pinpointed the increase in saliva flow from the act of chewing as a likely cause of this benefit.
When you decide to buy chewing gum, look for a sugarless variety that carries the South African Dental Association (SADA) seal on the package. That way, you know you can trust that the gum is safe and effective. If products carry this seal, the associated companies are required to verify the claims made on their packaging, such as those regarding the remineralisation of teeth and the reduction of plaque and gum problems. A trustworthy sugar-free gum can freshen breath and help fight cavities, but don't neglect your oral hygiene regimen. Although it is a handy on-the-go trick, chewing sugarless gum should never replace brushing and flossing. These habits can effectively banish plaque and keep cavities at bay.