Is chewing gum good or bad for your teeth? Xylitol alternatives.

One of commonly asked oral hygiene questions is whether or not chewing gum is good for your teeth. We have all seen countless commercials advertising chewing gum as a means to strengthen, whiten, and improve your teeth and gums. Unfortunately, this isn’t always true. Chewing gum can be healthy for your teeth, however, some types of gum are actually very bad for your tooth enamel. It all boils down to what the gum ingredients are. While sugar-free gum is usually better for your teeth than chewing gum that contains sugar, this distinction isn’t always the only important factor.

Chewing Gum With Sugar

Numerous clinical studies have been done on whether or not chewing gum with sugar is detrimental to your overall oral hygiene. The evidence suggests time and time again that chewing gum that contains sugar is detrimental to your teeth. It can erode and weaken your enamel, lead to tooth decay, and even cause problems with your gums. The reason is that sugar is more difficult to wash away with saliva than sugar substitutes as it binds with plaque and is hard to remove without a dental checkup. Sugar filled gum also leads to a greater increase in bacteria growth within your mouth, as bacteria thrive on sugar. An excess amount of bacteria in your mouth can lead to gum disease, tooth decay, and bad breath.

Sugar-Free Chewing Gum is Better

As all Saskatoon dentists will tell you, sugar-free chewing gum is far better for your teeth than gum flavored with real sugar. In fact, sugary gum is so bad for your teeth that if you begin chewing it frequently over just several months it will be quite obvious for your hygienist to see during a routine dental checkup. Sugar-laden gum can start to pit the enamel on your teeth in just weeks after regular chewing, so be sure to avoid it at all costs. Saskatoon dentists may quote several of the most recent studies that were published by the National Dental Association, all of which showed that sugary gums harm tooth enamel every time it comes into contact with your teeth. While the decay progress is slow, it can build up fast with frequent use of sugary gums.

The Top 3 Flavoring Ingredients in Sugar-Free Gum

  1. Xylitol – If you ask a professional at a dental clinic in Saskatoon they will likely tell you that sugar-free gum that uses xylitol as its primary flavoring ingredients is by far the safest option for your teeth. Not only is xylitol non-corrosive to tooth enamel, but it also stimulates an increase in the production of saliva. An abundance of saliva is one of the main ways that your mouth and teeth stay healthy, as saliva acts to clean the surfaces of your mouth. 
  2. Sorbitol – The cosmetic dentistry Saskatoon association strongly recommends sorbitol as an alternative to sugar-free gum. Sorbitol flavored gums are safe to use after or before oral surgery or any other dental procedure, as it is low in acids. In fact, most cosmetic dentistry Saskatoon will even recommend that you only chew sorbitol based gums before or after oral surgery, as the gum will help your mouth maintain a healthy level of saliva, which is very conducive to healing within the tissues of the gums. 
  3. Aspartame – If you ask a professional at any dental clinic Saskatoon about which artificial sweetener is the most commonly used in sugar-free gum, they will tell you that it is aspartame. As most people know aspartame actually tastes sweeter than sugar, despite containing no sugar and being comprised of zero calories. Pediatric dentists Saskatoon may, however, recommend that you limit the amount of aspartame that your child comes into contact with. The pediatric dentists Saskatoon association acknowledge that excessive aspartame may increase a child’s appetite to an unhealthy level.

Protect Your Teeth with Sugar-Free Options

The next time you reach for a pack of gum at the grocery store, make sure you take the time to ensure that it is the sugar-free variety. Chewing sugar-free gum exclusively will help ensure that your tooth enamel stays well protected over the long haul, leading to far less tooth decay. If your teeth are hurting, are showing signs of wear (regardless of your chewing gum choices) or you’re simply due for a check up with a dentist in Saskatoon, give our team at Acadia Dental Clinic a call!  Our team specializes in routine dental hygiene, emergency dental care and being a full service family dental clinic in saskatoon. We are here to serve you.