In a normal year, we’d be well into the baseball season by now, and whether you’re a Mets or Yankees fan, there’s one universal truth — there is always lots of gum chomping going on. Heck, dugouts have bowls full of Hubba Bubba, Big League Chew, and Bazooka. Tasty bubble gums one and all, but also loaded with sugar.
At Gentle Dental, we won’t divulge our team allegiances, but we will express our allegiance to sugarless gum. Yeah, we know, sugarless gum has kind of a sappy persona thanks to the witless TV commercials where lovelorn singles finally find love after chomping on a piece of Trident. We switch the channel when those come on, but we love sugarless gum for its own sake because it has various characteristics that make it a strong ally in the fight for better oral health.
Here are some reasons the team at Gentle Dental loves sugarless gum.
It prevents cavities
The American Dental Association details various studies showing that chewing sugarless gum for 20 minutes after a meal can prevent tooth decay. It does this by boosting the flow of saliva in your mouth, which washes away food and neutralizes acids. The saliva also contains additional calcium and phosphate to support strengthening of enamel. That Bazooka you’ve been munching on also increases saliva, you say. Ah, but the sugar is used by plaque bacteria to produce acidic by-products, and those are the basis of how decay starts.
We all know we should use toothpaste and mouthwash with fluoride to strengthen the teeth. Sugarless gum has a similar effect. When you chew sugarless gum sweetened with xylitol, the acids left behind on your teeth from foods and drinks are reduced, says the ADA. The gum also prevents enamel erosion by supplying minerals to your teeth.
Sugar-free gum has another crazy benefit — it can reduce tooth sensitivity caused by in-office teeth whitening treatments. According to a study published in the British Dental Journal, patients who chewed sugarless gum after having their teeth whitened had significantly less tooth sensitivity compared to study participants who did not chew gum. The mechanism was thought to be the increase in saliva flow that creates this effect.
OK, so go to Citi Field or Yankee Stadium (we won’t judge) and chomp on some gum, just like all the players on the field. But don’t go spitting everywhere in sight, and don’t chew sugary bubble gum. Go sugarless, and your teeth with thank you. And that makes us happy. Maybe not as happy as bringing Tom Seaver back to the mound, but…