Chewing is something we do on a daily basis; whether it’s on actual food, pen caps or both is based on the chewer. When it comes to chewing food, having strong healthy teeth helps you achieve optimal chewing and better digestion. Pen caps, not so much (avoid chewing on pen caps!). So if chewing food is a good thing, where does gum fit in?
Derived from a plant, gum isn’t technically a food, but rather something that many people chew daily, which helps freshen breath and exercise jaw muscles. The main issue with gum is the fact that many varieties contain sugar, which can be detrimental to oral hygiene and overall dental health. Another issue with gum is the fact that it can be problematic for those who have undergone particular dental work (full dentures and partials for example).
Seems like chewing gum may not be as good as you thought it was, right? Not necessarily. Certain studies have shown that chewing a piece of sugar free gum after meals can actually help keep your teeth clean. The chewing action and sugar substitute in the gum helps your mouth create more saliva, which helps rinse away plaque causing bacteria that can build up in between the teeth and gums. If the sweetener in question is something called Xylitol, the cleaning affects are heightened even more.
If you decide to chew gum, be aware of the type you choose and how often you chew. Also, it’s important to remember that chewing the right type of gum doesn’t mean you should avoid seeing your local Ottawa dental professional on a regular basis. Now, that’s something to chew on!