Is Chewing Gum Good or Bad for Your Teeth?

Posted By Szikman Dental Group || 4-Jun-2015

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!

Categories: Dental, Oral Health