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To Chew or not to Chew…Gum

When it comes to the health of your teeth, they reflect everything that is going on in your body. While everyone knows chewing gum is a chewy substance that is not to be swallowed, what is it doing to your gums while you are chewing?

What is Chewing Gum?

This is a simple question that has a lot of pieces. Modern-day gum consists of a base material, a sweetener, a substance that keeps it soft, flavors, colors and a polyol coating that helps it maintain its stickiness.

Is Gum good for your Teeth and Gums

The answer to this question is mostly yes. Chewing gum helps you salivate more which in turn helps your body discard of any bacteria or plaque that has built up on your teeth and gums. If the gum is sugarless, 20 minutes of chewing gum after a meal can help reduce the likely hood of developing tooth decay. This does not mean you can stop brushing your teeth, it just means you can enjoy a stick of sugarless gum after a meal.

Does the type of Gum Matter?

Chewing the occasional stick of sugarless gum can be good for your teeth and gums and clean away the bad bacteria that are in everyone’s mouth, but if the gum has sugar in it then you might want to rethink your choice. Sugar on its own can lead to tooth decay and erosion, but the harmful effects of some types of gum are different when it comes to your gums.

Sugar-Free is good…Right?

Your gums are designed to help filter what is going into your mouth while protecting your teeth. This means they are absorbing portions of whatever you are putting into your mouth and not all types of gum that are sugar-free are good at cleaning your teeth. Aspartame is a common substitute for sugar in many different products including sugar-free gum. Aspartame can help formaldehyde which is not only bad for your teeth and gums; it is bad for your entire body.

What else should I know?

Chewing gum can wear the enamel off your teeth which will leave your teeth and your gums more sensitive to the temperature of your food or cause irritation if the food is acidic. It can also cause the realignment of your teeth from all the chewing. Chewing gum regularly can cause your molars to drift backward in your mouth leading to an overbite. Allowing for this to happen will mean you will need braces to bring your teeth back to where they are supposed to be.

How to Protect your Gums

How you can protect your gums is almost the exact same thing you can do for your teeth. You can brush your teeth and gums twice a day, eat healthy foods, and visit your dentist regularly. This will prevent the build-up of the bad bacteria around your teeth and save your teeth and gums for you to use your entire life.

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