While your Florida dentist might not be too keen on you using chewing gum for cleaning your teeth, the fact remains that gum can help. It’s much better to be aware of the benefits that chewing gum can offer before using it as your primary method for keeping your teeth clean. This dentist in Florida much prefers if our clients use sugarless gum. Even so, we’d like to let you know about the drawbacks of using gum as a temporary method for cleaning your teeth. In this article, we’ll look at gum from a dentist’s standpoint and tell you the things we grudgingly accept about it, and what we’re not so keen on seeing.
What Is Chewing Gum?
According to The BBC, chewing gum has been around since the stone age and used the Sapodilla tree sap as a base. The liquid was formed into a material known as Chicle, which had a particular temperature profile allowing it to become soft when inside someone’s mouth. In the past, the majority of the world’s chewing gum used to come from Guatemala. Modern chewing gum uses gum bases (which may be artificial or natural) alongside sugar and artificial flavoring to give you the chewy sensation that gum offers.
Dentists always advise our clients to use sugar-free gum. The sugars in gum can be intense and can lead to tooth decay if you consume a lot. Ideally, we’d recommend you choose the gums that have the ADA seal of acceptance on them, as they’re guaranteed to be sugar-free. Sugary gum is always a negative trait to your Florida dentist, but we’re willing to work with your consumption of sugar-free gums. As it turns out, sugar-free gum brings with it a series of attractive benefits.
Gum Chewing Can Help Clean Your Teeth
When you’re done with a meal, the bacteria on your teeth start attacking the leftover bits and pieces of food with acid, which weakens your enamel. That’s how cavities form. The Oral Health Foundation mentions that sugar-free chewing gum can help deal with this acid since it allows the mouth to produce more saliva in response to the chewing action. Additionally, the sticky substance that forms the basis of chewing gum can collect those stray particles of food and remove them from the surface of your teeth, so you don’t have to worry about them leading to cavities.
Standard sugar-free chewing gum can also be supplemented with gum that contains a chemical called xylitol. The California Dental Association mentions that xylitol is a natural sugar alcohol that helps prevent cavities and might even help remineralize teeth and repair damage. Xylitol is a unique sugar since bacteria that cause cavities can’t feed on it after you’re done chewing your gum. The lack of sustenance leads to a decreased bacterial count in your mouth and a much healthier mouth overall. Xylitol is a selling point for many gum manufacturers, and they include it on the packaging or ingredient lists. Inspect the gum packet to find out if your sugar-free gum comes with xylitol.
Strengthening Enamel with CPP-ACP
Casein phosphopeptide-amorphous calcium phosphate (CPP-ACP) is a chemical that’s contained within some gums. According to The Journal of Oral Science, CPP-ACP can help repair tooth enamel through remineralization and slow decay by reducing demineralization. Demineralization is a process by which your enamel becomes thinner and more brittle. When teeth lose their mineral content, they become easier to break. CPP-ACP is a solution for dealing with the slow removal of minerals from teeth and can be contained with a chewing gum much the same as xylitol. You can usually spot if a gum has CPP-ACP in it on the ingredient listing or the nutritional information.
Trustworthy Gums Should Come First
Dentists still have a tentative relationship with chewing gums, but the American Dental Association (ADA) has its own seal of approval for certain sugar-free gums. The ADA doesn’t grant this seal to every gum manufacturer that wants it. Manufacturers have to prove that their product meets the statements they include on the packaging. ADA’s seal also verifies that the gum is not harmful to your teeth or your gums. For a manufacturer to attain the ADA’s seal, they need to submit laboratory test results and clinical trials to the ADA for verification. The approval process is strict, but it means you can depend on the seal to verify quality.
Drawbacks and Limitations of Chewing Gum
Even though chewing gum does have its benefits to your mouth, it also has a series of drawbacks. A daily chewing gum regimen can add to your oral health significantly. However, it’s important to note that it’s not a technique that would work for everyone in every circumstance. As it turns out, you may have to think about whether you want to or even can use chewing gum as part of your oral health regimen.
Chewing gum Isn’t Recommended for TMJ Disorder Sufferers
The average person can chew gum without having to worry about jaw pain. However, if you have TMJ disorder, chewing can be a painful experience. The National Institutes of Health state that no one knows for sure how many Americans have TMJ disorder, but some studies suggest as much as ten million Americans may suffer from it. If you are diagnosed with TMJ disorder, your dentist in Florida is likely to tell you to steer well clear of chewing gum if you can.
Dentures and Braces are Out
Chewing gum is, by nature, a very sticky substance. If you aren’t careful, you can get gum stuck all over. It’s even worse when you have dental apparatus in your mouth. If you use dentures, then you’re taking a chance by chewing gum, since it can stick to the spaces within your dentures. A similar situation can happen if you need to wear braces for straightening your teeth. Getting gum on either of these may lead to complications in cleaning the apparatus. The best approach would be to avoid them altogether. Only chew gum if you don’t have any dental device in your mouth.
Don’t Replace Brushing and Flossing With Gum
We’ve said that chewing gum can help clean teeth, but it’s a temporary measure. Brushing and flossing remain the preferred way for you to take care of your teeth. And don’t even think about permanently using chewing gum for tooth cleaning. Your dentist in Florida will know at a glance if you’ve been brushing and flossing. They will also know if you’ve just been using chewing gum to clean your teeth. Elements like plaque don’t get removed with chewing gum. In fact, they can lead to their own damaging effects on your teeth.
Talking To Your Dentist About Chewing Gum
Through it all, any dentist in Florida will tell you that they’re not comfortable with you chewing gum. However, if you keep it to ADA-approved, sugar-free gum, we’re more willing to make an exception. Chewing gum is up to you, and if you make a choice, you should do so responsibly. It doesn’t stop you from needing regular visits to your Florida dentist, however. If it’s time you came in for a checkup, Anderson Dental Lake Worth is a family dentist you can trust. Give us a call today to set up your next appointment. We’ll be glad to see you, even if you chew gum to clean your teeth sometimes.