Is Sugar Free Chewing Gum Actually Good For Your Teeth?
8 September 2015
Alternative ways to help look after your teeth from the Confidental Surbiton team.
At our Surbiton Dentist, we love answering questions from our patients about oral health.
In a world of contradictory health headlines in the news every day, more elaborate oral hygiene products and oral health benefits being claimed on various different products, we know it can be extremely confusing knowing how best to care for your teeth.
We of course offer general dentistry and cosmetic dentistry here at Confidental, but we also offer a lot of patient care and advice. We want you to know you can always come to us with a question if you have one, and we will always do our best to answer you clearly and accurately. We want you to be happy, comfortable and healthy.
One question we get asked regularly, is whether or not sugar free chewing gum is actually good for your teeth. Although many top brands might advertise it as something to include in your oral health regime, it’s understandable that we would question that because often you can’t trust health claims from companies who simply want you to buy their product.
Here we answer some common sugar free chewing gum questions we get asked:
What Is It?
Sugar free chewing gum is completely sugar free, and is sweetened with various different artificial sweeteners. Because of its lack of sugar and other ingredients, it does not contribute to tooth decay.
Is It Good For My Oral Health?
Yes. Sugar free chewing gum is good for your oral health because it helps with oral care throughout the day, as most of us do not brush our teeth between meals.
After you have eaten, your teeth are exposed to acid and sugars from the food you have consumed and from any plaque on your teeth. Plaque is bad for your teeth because it attacks the tooth enamel. Sugar free chewing gum helps reduce the acid attacking your teeth because chewing it helps you create more saliva, which is a natural oral defence against acid.
Can It Combat Dental Erosion?
Sugar free chewing gum will not fully protect your teeth if you smoke and/ or consume a high sugar, high acid diet. So if you eat lots of sweets or drink lots of sugary drinks and then chew sugar free chewing gum, your teeth are still at risk. However, when you chew the gum and create more saliva, the saliva will help to reduce the acid attacks that cause dental erosion and help to replace minerals your teeth will lose during an acid attack.
How Long Should I Chew It For?
You should chew sugar free chewing gum for around 20 minutes after you have consumed food or liquids, unless all you have consumed is water.
Will It Stop Me Having A Dry Mouth?
Sugar free chewing gum is excellent for dry mouth because it helps you produce more saliva.
Will It Stop Me Having Bad Breath?
The chewing action does help to remove some debris from in between the teeth, which should help reduce bad breath as it is often this debris that causes bad breath. It also helps stimulate saliva production, which helps combat bad breath, as a reduced saliva flow can be a contributory factor. And of course, the chewing gum is usually mint flavoured which helps freshen breath.
Do I Need To Be Concerned About The Sweeteners?
Some sweeteners used in sugar free are known to have a laxative effect if consumed in large amounts, so excessive consumption of chewing gum is not advised (follow manufacturers advice). Other sweeteners, such as aspartame, are thought to have negative health effects, although this has not been proven. Xylitol is a common sweetener used in sugar free chewing gum that has been proved to help prevent plaque sticking to the teeth. Generally the sweeteners used in sugar free chewing gum shouldn’t be anything to worry about and are approved for safe consumption by authority health organisations.
Can I Chew It If I Have A Brace Or Dentures?
If you have a brace, chewing gum is not recommended. If you have dentures, it may depend on the type of dentures you have as to whether or not sugar free chewing gum is suitable for you. Please ask us about this on your next visit to our Surbiton Dentist.
Can I Stop Brushing My Teeth And Use Sugar Free Chewing Gum Instead?
No. You still need to brush your teeth twice a day as normal. Sugar free chewing gum does not replace brushing your teeth.
Will It Whiten My Teeth?
Although many big brands claim sugar free chewing gum can also whiten your teeth, we haven’t seen any evidence to prove this is the case. However whilst you will still need cosmetic dentistry to actively whiten your teeth noticeably, sugar free chewing gum as part of a full oral health care regime may help to prevent your teeth staining over time.
Get In Touch
If you have any questions about sugar free chewing gum or any other aspects of your oral regime, please feel free to get in touch on 02083991291, or ask us at your next appointment with us – we are more than happy to help.