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Does Chewing Gum Actually Help Clean Teeth?

girl chewing gum and blowing a bubble to help clean her teeth

Many people like to chew gum, but what kind of effect does it have on your teeth? Maybe you’ve heard that it can be good for your oral health, but do you know why? Here’s everything you need to know about chewing gum and if it helps cleans teeth:

Saliva Flow Helps Protect Your Teeth

The first thing you should know is that saliva is your body’s natural method for keeping your teeth healthy. When you chew, it stimulates saliva flow, which acts as a shield against the acids in food and drink. Saliva also protects against wear-and-tear on your teeth thanks to its protein content.

It Matters What Kind of Gum You Chew

There are lots of gum choices out there, including sweetened ones. Chewing any gum will stimulate your saliva flow – flavors boost it even more – but the bacteria in your mouth love gum with sugar. You are not doing your oral health any favors by chewing that kind of gum. Sugar-free gum is the way to go. This is because these gums use sweeteners that are “noncarcinogenic,” which means the sweeteners are either metabolized very slowly by bacteria or the bacteria don’t eat them at all.

Xylitol is a popular sweetener these days and there are claims that it can actually stunt bacterial growth and help prevent tooth decay. So far, there isn’t enough evidence to say for sure that xylitol is better than other kinds of sugar-free gum. To choose a good gum, just look for the ADA’s Seal of Acceptance on the packaging.

When’s the Best Time to Chew Gum?

After eating, chewing sugar-free gum for 20 minutes will increase your saliva flow, helping to clear away food particles and neutralize acid. However, remember that gum chewing does not replace brushing and flossing. For your best oral health, you should also remember to visit Romeoville Dental Center twice a year for preventive services and anything else you might need.

If you’re due for a cleaning and exam, contact our team today to make an appointment!