Skip to main content
Invisalign 2017 elite provider badge, Brentwood MO

Does Chewing Gum Really Prevent Cavities?

Smiling patient sitting on the dental chair Brentwood, MO

Chewing gum has been a habit that Americans have enjoyed for more than 100 years. Some people chew it out of habit, some chew it for its flavor or as a breath freshener, and still some chew it in order to break bad habits (e.g. smoking or biting the fingernails). Fortunately, chewing the correct type of gum is actually a beneficial habit for most people because, while it may sound too go to be true, chewing gum can help prevent cavities from destroying your smile.

Inside your mouth right now are millions of bacteria. That may seem like something out of a horror movie, and it may make you want to go brush your teeth, but it is true. The naturally occurring bacteria inside your mouth are there to help break down the small particles that are left behind after eating or drinking anything other than water. These bacteria mean to be helpful, yet they turn harmful as they go to work. When the bacteria congregate in large numbers to break down particles, they begin to produce acids to assist them. Acids are notorious for the damage that they cause to anything that is in their path, and inside your mouth this would be your teeth. Cavities are caused by acids eating tiny holes in the enamel, and it can occur in a very short amount of time.

Chewing gum can help to prevent the destruction of these acid producing-bacteria by stimulating the production of saliva. A moist mouth is less likely to harbor as many particles or bacteria simply because they are unable to attach themselves to the teeth. However, a dry mouth provides ample opportunity for particles to become stuck to the teeth and for damaging bacteria to go to work without any interruption. Chewing gum increases the amount of saliva inside the mouth, thus helping to prevent cavities from developing.

Chewing gum is never meant as a replacement for daily flossing and brushing. It is also vital to your oral health that you choose a sugar-free gum to chew. Chewing gum that contains sugar is simply inviting cavities because sugar deposits will be left behind, and the bacteria will begin wreaking havoc.

At Brentwood Dental Group, we are proud to partner with our patients to achieve and maintain healthy smiles. Contact us today for a recommendation on a sugar-free gum to help prevent cavities.

Posted on behalf of Brentwood Dental Group