You’ve heard it both ways: chewing gum is good for your teeth; chewing
gum is bad for your teeth. Oral health is important, but it’s hard
to separate fact from myth. The answer to this question is “yes
and no, depending on the type of gum.”
So how do you know if your favorite gum is good for your teeth? Look at
the ingredients. Is it sweetened with sugar or is it sugar free? Generally
speaking, there are three types of gums:
- Old-fashioned gum, which is sweetened with sugar
- Gum sweetened with artificial sweetener (such as aspartame)
- Gum sweetened with sugar alcohols (xylitol or sorbitol)
Gums Sweetened with Sugar
Sugar-sweetened gums aren’t great for your teeth. Like any candy, these gums contain high levels of sugar. When you chew
a sugary gum, bacteria in your mouth begins to feed on the sugar, which
can harm your teeth. Additionally, sugar stays in your mouth for a long
time, allowing bacteria to feed long after you dispose of the gum.
Artificially Sweetened Gums
Gums made with artificial sweeteners (such as aspartame) are typically
labeled “sugar-free.” This means they don’t contain
the dangerous sugars that allow bacteria to grow in your mouth; the only
real change caused by chewing sugar-free gum is increased saliva. In fact,
chewing a sugar-free gum for about 20 minutes after a meal can help restore
you mouth’s natural pH balance.
Gums Sweetened with Sugar Alcohols
Xylitol and sorbitol are two of the most common sugar alcohol sweeteners.
Unlike artificially sweetened and sugar-sweetened gums, these gums can
actually combat dangerous bacteria that might threaten your teeth. In
short, gums sweetened with sugar alcohols are best for your oral health.
In addition to stimulating the flow of saliva, these gums have the added
benefit of fighting bacteria.
Looking for a dentist in Atlanta or Marietta? Contact Szikman Dental Group
to schedule your first appointment with us!