Is Chewing Gum Okay for My Teeth?
Many people know to avoid hard or sticky candies to keep their teeth strong and healthy, but many wonder if chewing gum is harmful to teeth as well. Continue reading to learn if chewing gum is safe for teeth.
Chewing Gum Ingredients
In order to understand how the teeth and gums are affected, it is important to be aware of the ingredients that commonly make up chewing gum.
Ingredients of chewing gum include:
- Gum: The gum is the rubbery, non-digestible base that provides chewing gum with its chewable qualities.
- Fillers: Talc and calcium carbonate are used as fillers to give chewing gum its texture and consistency.
- Softeners: Softeners such as paraffin or vegetable oil are added to prevent chewing gum from hardening.
- Preservatives: Preservatives are added to extend the shelf life of chewing gum. In most cases, butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT) is used as a preservative in chewing gum.
- Resin: Resin is added to chewing gum to strengthen the consistency and hold everything together.
- Flavor: Common flavors for chewing gum include mint, cinnamon, spearmint, berry, and mixed fruit.
- Sweeteners: Common sweeteners include cane sugar, syrup, and beet sugar. Alternative sugar-free sweeteners include xylitol and aspartame.
Regular vs. Sugar-Free Gum
So, is chewing gum safe for teeth?
The answer is yes - as long as it is sugar-free.
When you chew gum, your teeth are exposed to the ingredients in the gum for extended periods of time.
If you chew gum that contains sugar, this means that you are exposing your teeth to direct contact with sugar for the entire time that you are chewing the gum. This places the teeth at an increased risk of decay, as sugar has the potential to break down the protective layer of enamel.
Alternatively, when you choose to chew sugar-free gum, you may actually be helping your teeth rather than hurting them. Chewing sugar-free gum increases saliva production, which helps lubricate the mouth and neutralize acids.
Xylitol, the artificial sweetener that is most commonly used in sugar-free chewing gum, has also been examined to lower bacteria levels, neutralize acids, and help keep teeth strong and healthy.
EZ Dental: Best Dentist in San Jose, CA
In conclusion, chewing gum is perfectly safe for teeth - as long as it is sugar-free. Keep an eye out for the ADA (American Dental Association) seal of approval to make sure that you are choosing a chewing gum that is healthy and safe for your teeth.
Next time you reach for a stick of sugar-free chewing gum, keep in mind that you are actually taking steps to keep your teeth healthy and strong!
EZ Dental is proud to offer the most comprehensive and personable dental treatment in San Jose, CA. Our team of dental professionals will work hard to help you maintain the healthiest smile possible.
For more information about caring for your teeth, or to get scheduled for an appointment in our San Jose dental office, give us a call at (408) 227-6000.
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