Are you a frequent gum-chewer? Men's Health Magazine recently published an article discussing how chewing sugar free gum can save you thousands of dollars in dental expenses. Find out why adding gum to your daily routine can help fight cavity causing bacteria!
Every time we eat or drink anything made with sugars or carbohydrates, our mouths turn acidic for a thirty minute period. This is caused by bacteria in our mouths processing sugars into their associated acids. Over time, the acid buildup weakens dental enamel and begins to form cavities in our teeth. These cavities tend to develop in areas that trap food, as bacteria have more fuel to turn into acid. This is one of the reasons why decay in common in between teeth and in the pits/grooves of posterior teeth.
The Men's Health article correctly identifies that sugar free gum lacks the necessary ingredients to fuel bacterial acid production. In addition to this, gum helps loosen food that gets packed into our teeth after meals. Finally, chewing gum stimulates saliva flow which is a crucial factor in preventing tooth decay. Our saliva has incredible natural remineralizing properties and can have a tremendous effect on the progression of cavities.
One topic the article does not address is the type of sweetener to look for in sugar free gum. Most brands use typical sugar substitutes like sorbitol and aspartame. However, chewing gum made with xylitol will add even more protective factors into your daily routine. Xylitol is a natural sugar alcohol that inhibits ability of bacteria to grow and stick to our teeth. While xylitol gum can be purchased at many stores, health food markets typically carry the best variety. You can also order it online from companies like Dr. John's Candies (our office's favorite!).
It is currently believed that Xylitol's maximum dental benefit comes from using it three to five times a day. However, it is not a substitute for flossing or brushing with a fluoride toothpaste. If you would like to know more about the protective factors of xylitol gum, how it is best used and what it does for our teeth, please give our office a call!
Link to Men's Health Article: www.menshealth.com/health/habit-save-money-dentist