There was once in a time in American society when chewing gum in public was considered bad manners. While we do not recommend that you arrive at your after-lunch business meeting smacking on a big wad of bubble gum, it may be in your best interest to pop a small piece of sugar-free gum into your mouth just after your lunch, and here's why:
Because the chewing motion stimulates the flow of saliva to your mouth, chewing a piece of gum is a particularly effective way to reduce the likelihood of tooth decay. As you chew your meal, the naturally occurring sugars in your food interact with any plaque that is present on your teeth, creating plaque acid. Over time, this plaque acid can wear away at a tooth's protective enamel covering, at which point tooth decay can occur. When your salivary gland is prompted to increase its output, the flow of saliva helps to neutralize and remove the plaque acid from your mouth.
Chewing gum that contains sugar will also stimulate your salivary glands, but the increased sugar will only exacerbate the production of plaque acid, making tooth decay all the more likely. Sugar-free gums that are flavored with sweeteners such as aspartame, sorbitol, or mannitol will not contribute to the production of plaque acid, and therefore are recommended as being a great gum to chew to prevent tooth decay.
To help you quickly identify sugar-free chewing gum on a store shelf, the American Dental Association now gives their ADA seal of approval to many chewing gum brands that carry a sugar-free variety.
It is important to point out that while chewing sugar-free gum after meals is a great step to avoid tooth decay, it is most effective when one brushes twice a day, flosses regularly, and sees a dental professional for regular cleanings twice a year.
Have questions or concerns about your oral health? Looking for more suggestions for avoiding tooth decay? Contact us to learn more.