Did you know that chewing gum can help reduce the risk of developing a cavity? One major benefit of chewing gum is that it increases the amount of saliva in your mouth. The increased saliva helps to flush away the plaque from your teeth. Also, every time we eat the pH of our mouth becomes more acidic. The increased saliva from chewing gum helps to return the mouth to a more neutral pH. Additionally, minerals in our saliva like calcium, phosphate, and flouride help to strengthen teeth to further protect against cavities.
You shouldn't chew just any gum though. Bacteria in our mouths make acid from regular sugar and some sugar substitutes, and this acid causes tooth decay. At the very least your gum needs to be sugar free to prevent this from happening. Another great alternative is chewing gum with xylitol. Xylitol is a natural sugar that bacteria cannot make acid from. Instead bacteria just get flushed away preventing plaque accumulation and tooth decay. Studies have even shown that as little as three exposures to xylitol each day will reduce plaque by half and tooth decay up to 70%. Also when mothers of newborns used xylitol they prevented the spread of cavity causing bacteria to their babies.
You can find xylitol in many different products. Trident has a few types of gum that contain it. Also Spry products are great. They have gum, mints and mouth sprays. We have found these products online and at stores like Olivers, Whole Foods, and Sprouts.Amanda Delwiche, DDS