Is Chewing Gum Bad or Good for You?
Some patients may ask the NY dentist whether chewing gum is bad or good for them. Chewing gum is the easiest and most affordable way to freshen your breath during the day when proper hygiene is not available. However, it is worth remembering that this cannot replace brushing and flossing. Chewing gum is not intended to give a person any unusual sweet or menthol taste. Its task is to help maintain oral hygiene. Do not think of it as candy or refreshing lollipops. This is a purely dental subject and it is important to consider all the chewing gum pros and cons.
In the process of chewing gum in the human oral cavity, acids resulting from the activity of oral bacteria are neutralized. These acids are actively involved in the formation of dental plaque. One of the benefits of chewing gum is the prevention of the formation of harmful deposits on the surface of the teeth.
When purchasing, it is important to give preference to sugar-free gum. Sugar is a component that actively destroys tooth enamel. In the process of chewing gum, it is broken down into acids, forming a hard plaque on the tooth surface. Such plaque is not removed by salivary fluid, but over time collects all harmful organisms. Therefore, you should give preference to chewing gum with xylitol, which is harmless to teeth.
Chewing Gum Pros
Saliva plays an important role in the oral cavity. It neutralizes acids that form after eating and as a result of the active activity of bacteria, thus preventing the formation of plaque and the development of caries. It is extremely incorrect to talk about chewing gum as a complete alternative to brushing your teeth after eating. It cannot cope with plaque between teeth and in other hard-to-reach areas, but it does help remove some of the dirt and plaque on the accessible surfaces of the teeth and can be used as a hygiene aid.
One of the benefits of chewing gum is its positive effect on jaw health – strengthening both the upper and lower jaws and also improving blood circulation in the gum tissue. This process is also an effective way to cope with the discomfort associated with changes in pressure during travel, preventing the effect of blocked ears.
In addition, among the pros of chewing gum, it is worth noting the positive effect in reducing obsessive and complex thoughts. In situations of emotional arousal, this action helps to calm down and prevent stress, creating a semblance of psychological comfort. This is a safe way to relax and concentrate and does not require wide mouth opening or sudden movements.
Chewing Gum Cons
It is important to observe moderation when using chewing gum to cleanse the mouth of microorganisms. It is recommended to chew gum for only five to ten minutes to provide superficial cleansing and stimulate salivation. Neglecting this rule can lead to unpleasant chewing gum cons: gastric dysfunction, weakening of dental periodontium, disturbances in the functioning of the jaw joint, abrasion of tooth enamel, the formation of gastritis, ulcers and increased dryness of the oral mucosa.
Chewing gum for a long time and often can cause nausea, and food debris collected by the gum can end up in the stomach, which can also be undesirable. Asymmetrical chewing on one side of the jaw can lead to external facial asymmetry and the development of oral diseases.
The use of chewing gum in childhood and adolescence can cause complications in the development of teeth, and the presence of harmful components in the gum increases its negative impact. For example, sugar promotes tooth decay, and various additives can damage the liver, cause intestinal problems and harm the nervous system.
Can Gum Help Your Teeth?
One of the beneficial properties of healthy chewing gum is that it acts as a kind of exercise machine in the mouth. It increases physical stress on teeth and gums, improving blood supply to the latter. This is useful because people now eat too much soft food, and there is practically no hard food in their diet; there is no physical stress on the gums – hence the weakness of the gums and their tendency to various diseases.
So, can gum help your teeth? Definitely yes. Chewing allows you to restore the acid balance of saliva, which ensures the mineralization of dental tissues, preventing the occurrence of caries. This helps restore the antimicrobial and digestive functions of saliva. Thus, chewing gum that's good for your teeth significantly reduces the need to visit the dentist's office. The process of chewing loads the jaw muscles, increasing their strength and endurance, and also increases blood flow to the periodontal tissue, which has a positive effect on gum health. The chewing process involves muscles that ensure mobility of the lower jaw and full functioning of the TMJ. In addition, one of the chewing gum pros is a massage of the gums, which stimulates blood circulation in the periodontal tissues and prevents inflammatory processes.
There are several recommendations for using gum: chew it every time after eating (if you are unable to clean your teeth with a toothbrush); use sugar-free chewing gum; use this for 9-11 minutes.
The dentist may recommend bubble gum for adults with excessive dryness of the oral cavity and poor development of the chewing muscles. In the first case, chewing gum will help restore the required level of saliva secretion; in the second, it will create the required load on the chewing muscles, which will lead to their strengthening.
Chewing Gum Side Effects
Despite some positive properties, chewing gum can have negative consequences for the body. Problems associated with the chewing muscles and jaws include possible jaw pain caused by intense and excessive chewing, as well as discomfort in the jaw joints. These troubles, in turn, can cause tension and pain in the face and neck.
Chewing gum side effects may include bloating, excess gas, and stomach discomfort. In addition, the activation of stomach acid production can worsen health conditions in certain people. It is important to note that chewing gum before meals can reduce your appetite and create potential digestive difficulties.
It is important to remember that not all of these side effects impact all people, and many of them vary from person to person. If you want to answer the question of whether bubble gum is bad for you, visit your dentist for a consultation.
Article Approved by:
Antonio Clares General Dentist, DDS