It isn’t always possible to brush our teeth during the day, particularly after meals when we are out and about, and sugar-free gum is a great way to protect your teeth when there isn’t a toothbrush in sight.
In an attempt to discover how many people use sugar-free gum as part of their oral healthcare routine, we asked UK residents the question: ‘Do you chew sugar-free gum on a regular basis?’
An overwhelming majority (73%) responded with no.
Furthermore, a second survey revealed that
59% of people in the UK don’t know about the oral health benefits that gum chewing can bring.
Here are the main benefits…
And there is no limit to how many pieces of gum you can chew throughout the day. As long as it’s sugar-free you will be helping to reduce the impact of acids on your teeth.
||It helps to prevent dental erosion - Saliva is the mouth’s natural defence mechanism against acid. During an acid attack, the enamel of our teeth begins to erode and the minerals start to deteriorate, leaving you more susceptible to cavities. Chewing sugar-free gum helps to replace these minerals. After we eat and drink, the mouth can be deprived of saliva for some time, and it can take up to an hour for the minerals to replace naturally. However, chewing sugar-free gum after eating increases the flow of saliva, which contains calcium and phosphate, therefore helping to renew these lost minerals more quickly.
||Helps with bad breath and dry mouth
A reduced saliva flow can cause unpleasant symptoms like bad breath and dry mouth. Chewing sugar-free gum during the day after meals increases saliva flow to reduce the impact of a dry mouth and bad breath; not just because of the minty freshness!
||Helps you to avoid bad habits
For many smokers, the repetitive act of having a cigarette in their mouth is partially responsible for their addiction. Replacing a cigarette with chewing sugar-free gum allows a person to keep their mouth busy without reaching for the lighter, and it also drastically reduces the person’s risk of tooth decay, gum disease and types of oral cancer that are associated with smoking.
||How should you use sugar-free gum?
As the acidity levels in your mouth rise after you eat or drink, it is recommended that you chew sugar-free gum as soon as you can after eating. 20 minutes is enough to do the trick, but plaque can start to form on the outside of your teeth within half an hour of your teeth being cleaned.
Barry Cockcroft, Non-Executive Director at mydentist and former Chief Dental Officer for England, believes that chewing sugar-free gum should be a staple part of everyone’s oral hygiene routine:
“While it won’t reverse long-term damage to your teeth, we do know that chewing sugar-free gum can benefit your teeth and gums. The increased saliva flow is enormously advantageous, helping with everything from reducing the risk of cavities to bad breath.
“However, chewing sugar-free gum should not be used as a replacement to other aspects of dental care such as brushing at least twice a day with a good quality toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste. Nor should it replace your regular trips to the dentist to ensure that any potential issues are dealt with before they become serious.”