Is Chewing Gum Good or Bad for Your Teeth & Overall Health?
Jul 07, 2023
Remember this scene in our childhood? Once we unwrapped the gum, a sweet aroma filled the air. Everyone competed to be the bubble-blowing champion. And we blew and blew, trying to make the biggest bubble ever.
As people pay more attention to oral hygiene, a question haunts them. Chewing gum, is it good or bad for our teeth?
It is the stuff of which intense debates are made. There are many angles to consider when weighing in on the discussion. For example, you'll see very different results when comparing chewing gum types or how long you chew them.
You’ve probably heard that it’s both good and bad for your teeth. So what’s the real answer? Read carefully to find out!
Are all ingredients and additives used in chewing gum safe?
Chewing gum is one of the most heavily regulated foods in the world. The basic components of all chewing gum are the “gum base,” sweetener, flavor, and color. All of them are subjected at the national level.
In simpler terms, people who make gum need to ensure that all the extra tastes and ingredients they put in are as clean and pure as they should be. Some appropriate regulatory and legislative organizations define these. They also mandate that all substances are safe for human consumption.
Thus, choosing chewing gum that meets the standards and eating it in moderation will not damage your health.
The benefits of chewing gum
Helping bad breath
Cheating gum when you want to fight bad breath is a no-brainer. Chewing gum helps to create extra saliva within the mouth. It contributes to decreasing the number of bacteria. That’s why people who usually chew gum have more pleasant breaths than ones who do not.
Put aside the taste or the sugar in the gum; as germs get less in your mouth, chewing gum can change how your breath smells.
Relieving stress and improving concentration
Chewing gum helps relieve stress and anxiety by providing a simple, repetitive activity. And it can be an excellent substitute for nervous habits, like leg shaking and nail-biting when stressed. Gum-chewing boosts blood flow to your brain. It will enhance cognitive function and improve memory and response time.
Reducing acid reflux and heartburn
For some people who struggle with acid reflux and heartburn, chewing gum after meals may aid in reducing acid in the esophagus. The extra saliva produced through chewing gum can help balance stomach acidity.
Aid in weight loss
When people are bored, they habitually eat something. Chewing behavior is a comfort mechanism. Chewing gum mimics the chewing process required for food consumption. It helps ward off specific food cravings and allows you to eat less.
The side effects of chewing gum
Some brands of chewing gum are high in sugar.
To make it simple, even though lots of spit helps wash away germs in your mouth, sweet gum can help germs grow around your teeth and gums.
Too much sugar can result in oral health problems, premature tooth decay, and gum disease.
Therefore, excessive gum with high sugar content may cause tooth damage.
Chewing gum for a long time puts constant pressure on your jaw. This pressure can lead to Temporomandibular Disorder (TMD) if left unchecked.
A condition arouses pain when the jaw moves and pops out when it moves. Repeated movements of the lower jaw usually cause this condition.
Chewing gum may exacerbate this symptom.
Chewing gum can also cause bloating problems in some people.
When you chew gum, you constantly swallow the saliva produced, and at the same time, the air is swallowed.
When air enters your digestive tract, which interacts with bacteria, bloating and stomach pain may occur.
What gum should you chew?
When you buy gum at the grocery checkout, look for sugar-free gum with ADA Seal of Acceptance. The ADA Seal says this is a safe and effective oral health product. However, not all sugar-free gum is created equal.
Note that gum sweetened with xylitol is more effective against tooth decay than gum sweetened with sorbitol. But more gum is sweetened with sorbitol, mostly because it’s cheaper. So when buying, if you want healthier chewing gum, please read the ingredient list.
To chew or not to chew？
This is an entirely personal question.
Overall, if you choose to chew sugar-free gum, it may positively impact you and your teeth. It can be a valuable tool for freshening breath, promoting salivation, and reducing stress.
Please remember that chewing gum itself is not necessarily a healthy habit to establish. It can be a root of pitfalls and risks.
Sugar-free gum should only be used to supplement your usual oral hygiene practice. It can’t replace daily brushing and flossing. Keep up your everyday mouth-healthy habits, and you’ll have strong, beautiful teeth for life!