Did you know that according to the U.S. Census Bureau the average American chews 1.8 pounds of chewing gum a year? Such a large amount of chewing gum per person proves that gum chewing is a well liked past time of many Americans. If you have a sweet tooth and have trouble passing up a sweet treat in the checkout isle at the local grocery, try grabbing some sugar free gum next time. The good news about chewing gum is that unlike many candies, gum (and of course, regular dental cleanings) can actually be good for your teeth, at least the right kind of gum.

Truth be told, sugarless chewing gum helps clean your teeth. There are gums that advertise being good at fighting cavities, however, regular sugar free gum will help remove food particles from your teeth and fight cavities. Gum chewing stimulates saliva. Saliva helps to wash, clean and strengthen teeth, and neutralize and reduce the levels of acid in the mouth. You can actually decrease tooth decay by limiting the acid that sits on your teeth by chewing gum!

Chewing gum that contains Xylitol, a sugar substitute is even more effective at helping to prevent cavities. Xylitol can actually help reduce the cavity causing bacteria in the mouth when chewed. Unlike sugar, Xylitol is not a fuel for bacteria which decreases the number of bacteria in the mouth. Certain gum manufacturers are making gum that can actually help harden tooth enamel by adding an ingredient known as casein phosphopeptide-amorphous calcium phosphate (CPP-ACP). The trademarked name for CPP-ACP is Recaldent and this substance is known to remineralize and harden tooth enamel which will make teeth harder and less likely to suffer from tooth decay. So if you are one of the many Americans who like to chew gum, you can feel confident that your gum habit is actually a good thing for your teeth, if you choose sugar free gum. If you are not sure which gum is best, ask your dentist which sugarless gum they recommend.

Posted on behalf of Dr. Michael Juban, Juban Dental Care

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