There are many different types of gum that are good for your teeth; unfortunately, there are just about as many that are bad. Certain types of gum can be beneficial to your teeth and gums, but others can have detrimental effects. While choosing your chewing gum, it is important to select one that has a positive influence on your teeth and gums to keep your mouth healthy.
The earliest forms of chewing gum have been around since the ancient Greeks. We now know that they would chew sap from mastic trees, which is an evergreen shrub. At the same time, the Mayans would chew the sap of the sapodilla tree, which is another type of evergreen tree native to their part of the world. Native Americans would chew on spruce sap. These three civilizations would do this for the taste, as well as the benefits they could see coming from the process.
Today most of the ingredients used for chewing gum are not nearly as natural. They are mostly a blend of synthetic materials, yet chewing gum has remained just as popular, if not more so, than it ever was. We often look at the sugary gum as a type of candy, but there are types of gum that can help protect teeth.
By chewing gum you are increasing the amount of saliva in your mouth. Chewing a piece of gum after eating can increase saliva and help wash away the acids that have accumulated as a result of food being broken down. This acid, if left to sit on your teeth, can ruin your enamel and cause permanent damage. By chewing gum, you can prevent this from happening.
Studies have proven that chewing sugarless gum can prevent tooth decay. Just chewing for 20 minutes a day can be beneficial; however, the benefits do not translate to gum with sugar. If you consume an excess of sugar filled gum, you could be damaging your teeth.
The only type of gum you should be chewing is one that has earned the ADA Seal. This is acquired by providing evidence that the gum is effective at:[arrowlist]
- Reducing plaque acids
- Promoting the minerals of the enamel to rebuild, which prevents cavities
- Reducing gingivitis
Any gum that does not fulfill one or more of these requirements cannot receive the seal. These are usually sugary gums that have absolutely no health benefits.
Chewing sugary gum does increase the flow of saliva, just as sugar-free gum, but the other negatives that come with it are too great to ignore. The sugar supports the growth of plaque bacteria, which produces enamel-destroying acids. The gum greatly speeds up the process of tooth decay, causing you to require an expensive trip to the dentist.
It is important to think ahead when it comes to oral health. Only chew the gums that have been approved by the ADA. With these products, you can be sure they will improve your oral health by helping you avoid plaque and cavities. You can still get all the same great flavors with sugar-free gum as you can with the types that are packed full of sugar.
[box_light]By +Cassie Costner An avid gum chewer, Cassie writes on the types of gum that are most beneficial to your health. She writes for www.stevensonpediatricdentistry.com on the negatives of sugary gum, and which brands to avoid. [/box_light]
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