Gone are the days when chewing gum is considered poor etiquette. In today’s society, you can find people chewing gum in business meetings, church, and just about every other situation. With gum chewing so prevalent, you may have wondered what it’s doing to people’s teeth. You may be surprised to learn that research shows that chewing sugarless gum has a number of dental benefits.
Let’s see how it can actually be a helpful addition to your oral care routine.
Chewing sugarless gum increases the flow of saliva in your mouth, which rinses away food particles. Saliva also neutralizes acids that result from bacteria in your mouth that can lead to tooth decay. Known to carry with it calcium and phosphate, increased saliva flow also helps strengthen your tooth enamel.
Choose gum with the American Dental Association (ADA) Seal, indicating it as met the required safety and effectiveness criteria. This approval means that you can trust the gum’s packaging and labeling to be true.
The only gums carrying the ADA Seal are sugarless. They contain sweeteners that don’t cause cavities, like aspartame, mannitol, sorbitol, or xylitol. Chewing gum with xylitol is especially recommended, because it has been shown to combat tooth decay and cavities.
Even though chewing gum can be beneficial, remember that brushing and flossing are still the best ways to care for your teeth. Brush twice a day with fluoride toothpaste, and floss every day to remove plaque and debris between your teeth. Between these dental hygiene tasks, however, it is acceptable to chew sugarless gum to continue caring for your mouth during the day.
If you have kicked the smoking habit, congratulations!!! Your whole body thanks you, including your mouth. Now that you’ve tossed your tobacco, you may need some extra dental care to help with any damage that was created by using tobacco.
Even if you practiced good dental hygiene during the time you used tobacco products, the chemicals likely still stained and damaged your teeth. Schedule an appointment with your dentist for a thorough cleaning. Sometimes an even deeper cleaning is recommended to get rid of stubborn plaque and discoloration.
Examination for oral health problems
Your dentist will also examine your mouth for signs of gum disease and other problems. If any infection is present, antibiotics may be prescribed. Other issues like exposed roots or cavities may require further treatment such as root canals. You want to take care of problems right away so that your mouth function and your smile will get better instead of worse.
After your teeth have been professionally cleaned and treated as necessary, you may want to consider cosmetic procedures if you’re still unhappy with your smile. Professional teeth whitening may help brighten your smile, or you might need something like dental implants to replace any teeth that couldn’t be saved. Veneers might also be helpful if your teeth are too discolored from long years of tobacco use. Let your dentist know if you have any additional goals for your smile, because there are likely additional treatments that could benefit you.