Every day inside your mouth there are millions of bacteria calling your mouth their home. These bacteria work to break down particles that are left behind after you eat and drink anything other than water. Yet, as these “helpful” bacteria go to work, they begin producing acids to help them in their undertakings. As with all acids, the acids produced inside the mouth begin to eat their way through whatever is in their path – this being your tooth enamel. Holes in the enamel that are caused by acid-producing bacteria are known as cavities. If there was an easy habit that was both pleasant and tasty, that would prevent cavities from occurring, would you be interested?
Chewing gum is a simple, and unexpected, habit that can help prevent cavities from developing inside the mouth. While there will always be natural bacteria inside your mouth, you can help to limit the damage that they cause. Saliva is one of the most overlooked elements of oral health. When the mouth is moist, food and beverage particles are washed away from the teeth, as well as an overabundance of bacteria. A dry mouth, on the other hand, allows both the particles and the bacteria to stick to the teeth. The longer particles and bacteria remain on the surfaces of the teeth, the longer the teeth are vulnerable to the damage that the acid producing-bacteria will cause.
Chewing gum increases the production of saliva so that they mouth remains moist. It is generally recommended that people chew gum for about twenty minutes after eating or drinking in order to help wash the mouth clean. Of course, it is vital that you chew a sugar-free chewing gum! If you choose a gum that is laden with sugar, you are doing more harm than good. Regular gum will leave sugar deposits behind in the mouth, and remaining bacteria will congregate in extremely large quantities around these particles. The amount of acid that is produced around sugar particles is exponentially increased, thus causing more damage much quicker.
At Smiles by Seese, we want to encourage our patients to take care of their smiles in whatever methods are best for them. If you enjoy chewing gum, why not allow this habit to benefit you? We will be happy to recommend a sugar-free chewing gum for you at your next visit or if you would like to call our office and ask about it. Of course, chewing gum should never replace daily flossing and brushing, but it can be an added means of protection against cavities.