The last thing you’re probably thinking about during a meal (especially a delicious one) is how you’ll neutralize your mouth afterwards. While this is understandable, it is in fact important to do something about the acids that brew inside your mouth following a meal or flavored beverage. Luckily, according to the American Dental Association, you don’t have to do too much! While rinsing your mouth out with water is always an option, clinical studies have shown that chewing a piece of sugarless gum can have the exact same cleansing effect. All you have to do is decide which flavor you like best!
What Does Chewing Gum Do?
Chewing gum after a meal, or at a time when flossing and brushing are impractical, does several things that all promote better oral health. This includes:
Increases saliva production in your mouth. Saliva is your mouth’s natural response to the acids that harm your teeth. It works by washing away bacteria and coating the surface of the teeth. Chewing a piece of gum encourages saliva production in your mouth, that then helps to wash away food debris. Saliva also includes a disease fighting component that can help reduce the risk of complications like gum disease.
Many sugarless gums contain a sweetener called xylitol. This sweetener has shown to inhibit the growth of harmful bacteria like Streptococcus mutans in the mouth. Streptococcus mutans has been shown to cause cavities.
The ADA reminds people that chewing sugarless gum is never a replacement for other necessary acts of oral hygiene. This means chewing gum, although helpful, does not achieve what daily flossing and brushing does.
Seal Of Acceptance
The ADA has a list of products (including toothpastes, rinses and oral hygiene tools) that they award their coveted ADA Seal Of Acceptance. All this means is that many renowned dentists have agreed that a certain product is safe and effective and recommend its use. All the seal does is work to make shopping easier on people who are concerned with oral health. That isn’t to say that there aren’t plenty of safe and effective products out there that for whatever reason haven’t been awarded the seal. The seal acts as a suggestion! There are currently several different brands and types of sugarfree chewing gum that have been awarded the seal. No chewing gums containing sugar have been awarded the seal. This is because, although gums with sugar in them still increase saliva through the chewing motion, they also coat the teeth with sugar which can be harmful.
Visit the ADA’s site and take a look at the different gums that have been awarded the seal. The ADA has stated that for a gum to receive the seal the company must prove through scientific trials that the products does one of the following:
Promotes remineralization of tooth enamel.
Reduces cavities or gingivitis.
Reduces plaque acids.
The next time you’re about to finish a meal, don’t think twice, and pull out a piece of sugarfree gum. It’s a simple act that your mouth will thank you for in the long run! Call Dr. Lance Jue of A Beautiful Smile At Lake Pointe and schedule an appointment today!