Many of us have heard about the benefits of chewing sugar-free gum for the teeth, body, and brain, but how many of these claims are true? To find out, we did some research and checked out some other studies from trusted institutions, and what we found out was amazing!
Chewing stimulates saliva production, which is the key to the body’s natural defenses against tooth decay. More saliva means more bacteria and debris being washed away and destroyed by stomach acid rather than forming plaque or fermenting to cause infection and decay. When chewing food or gum with added sugar the result is something of a tradeoff as these things themselves are the causes of mouth bacteria production– particularly sugar, which micro-organisms feed on and expel at mind blowing rates– but when sugarless gum is chewed the individual receives all the benefits of chewing without any of the problems.
Xylitol, an artificial sweetener that is fairly new compared to well known sugar alternatives like aspartame and saccharin, has even been known to add to the teeth cleaning benefits of chewing sugar free gum. The growth of harmful bacteria like streptococcus mutans requires the bacteria to adhere to the surface of the tooth and form colonies which eventually eat away at the tooth and cause cavities. Xylitol interferes with adhesion and greatly reduces bacteria quantities and lifespan. This ingredient has a similar effect on acids food and drinks leave on your teeth, protecting your enamel and bone. This effect, combined with the more frequent rinsing provided by the increased saliva production that comes from gum chewing, leads to an overall decline in tooth decay and gum disease.
Gum chewers have also reported experiencing less tooth pain and sensitivity in formerly sensitive teeth, and a feeling of a stronger, healthier bite in general. In just 20 minutes of chewing a sugar free gum containing xylitol and marked with the ADA Seal of Approval, most patients can experience the acid-neutralizing and surface cleaning effects of chewing.
According to CNN Health, chewing sugar-free gum can benefit not only the teeth and gums but the whole body, mind, and overall health. Citing reserch from Baylor College of Medicine, in which an experiement followed 108 students over a period of 14 weeks and tracked performance among gum-chewers and students who did not chew gum, the students who chewed gum showed a 3% increase in their test scores and earned higher final grades than their non-chewing peers. Other studies have suggested similar boosts in memory, concentration, and mental acuity for adults who chew sugar-free gum while performing assorted job related tasks.
Meanwhile, a study performed at Louisiana State University found that people who chewed gum between meals ate fewer snacks, reported fewer cravings for sweet snacks and feelings of hunger, and ate fewer calories at mealtimes. On average a reduction of 200-500 calories consumed per day results in a positive change for those looking to lose or maintain weight, so this “secret weapon” is big news for much of America.
Chewing sugar free gum has a lot of very promising health effects, but it’s still no substitute for a good dental care regimen including brushing, flossing, and regular checkups and cleanings from your family dentist. Maintain and improve your mouth health with your favorite xylitol-sweetened gum, but see your dentist every six months to have your teeth professionally cleaned and inspected for problems. If it’s been a while since you’ve had your teeth checked out, schedule an appointment with the experienced doctors at Infinite Dental Wellness today!