When it comes to cavity prevention and caring for your teeth, we all know some of the most common techniques – brush your teeth, floss, and visit the dentist on a regular basis. However, there are some lesser known things you can do to help protect your teeth against decay. One such activity is chewing gum after a meal. In today’s blog, we explain why chewing sugar-free gum following a meal can help protect your teeth and prevent cavities.
Benefits of Gum After A Meal
A lot of people reach for gum or a mint following a meal, but this is often done in order to help freshen your breath after some pungent foods. Gum has added benefits though, as clinical studies have shown that it can help prevent tooth decay and cavity formation. But why is sugarless gum so helpful for your teeth? It comes down to saliva production.
Saliva helps make it easier to swallow foods, but it does so much more than that. For starters, saliva is comprised of substances that serves to break down food particles, which helps remove food that is stuck between teeth. Food particles and plaque that remain on a tooth’s surface can turn into tartar and break down your tooth’s enamel, the outer layer of the tooth’s surface. Saliva helps to prevent tartar formation.
Saliva also helps to neutralize acids in the mouth that can wear down your teeth. Foods like oranges or coffee that have higher than average acid content can slowly erode your teeth, but saliva helps to protect your teeth from this breakdown. Finally, saliva also contains calcium and phosphate, which helps to strengthen your tooth’s enamel. In all, saliva both helps to protect and strengthen your teeth.
So consider adding sugarless gum to your after meal routine. When you’re at the grocery store or pharmacy, look for gum that has been marked with the American Dental Association’s Seal of Approval. This way you’ll know that the gum is sugar-free and that it is trusted by dental professionals to protect their teeth. Gums with sugar in them will also help to spur saliva production, but the sugar is used by plaque to produce some decay-causing acids, so reach for a sugar-free pack.
Smiles for Life Dental in Bloomington, MN
Chewing on gum after a meal can be a great addition to a comprehensive oral hygiene plan, but it’s important to note that chewing gum is not a safe alternative to brushing and flossing. Make sure you are still practicing good oral health habits even if you begin chewing gum after a meal, and continue getting regular dental checkups. If it’s been a while since you got your last cleaning, reach out to Dr. Brooks’ office today to set up your next appointment.