Chewing the Facts - Gum and Oral Health

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Some may find it surprising to see the ADA Seal on a pack of gum. It's only on the sugar free options, but still, it's a stretch to think it's actually going to HELP your oral hygiene, isn't it? Well, not necessarily.

"Sugar Free gum has been shown to actually benefit your oral health in a couple ways," notes Dr. Jeff Henneberg. "First, chewing gum stimulates the saliva flow in your mouth. Saliva washes away food particles, depleting the nutrition supply for the bacteria in your mouth, which feeds on sugar. Beyond that, saliva also carries with it substances that more actively fight bacteria and disease."

Second, many sugar free gums are now switching to a natural sweetener, xylitol, as a substitute for sugar. Xylitol is particularly beneficial because it "looks like" sugar  to the bacteria in your mouth, so the bacteria will actually eat xylitol, too. But, xylitol actually offers no nutrition to the bacteria which eventually starve.

While nothing can replace brushing and flossing, Drs. Ellingsen and Henneberg recommend chewing sugar free gum for 20 minutes following a meal if brushing and flossing isn't available. The ADA has granted its Seal to 9 different brands of gum, to date. Choose your favorite flavor and chew your way to a healthy smile!

If you have questions about your oral health, or any questions about this information, please don't hesitate to give us a call at (509) 381-7906. If you are overdue for a check-up you can also book an appointment online 24/7! Just hit the button at the top of this screen!