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Should You Chew Gum for Better Dental Health?

You might be under the impression that gum, which is found in the candy aisle at your supermarket, is bad for your teeth. In some cases, you would be correct! Other times, however, gum can actually boost your dental health. Take a look at these considerations when deciding whether or not to chew gum.

Sugar-Filled Gum Is a No-No

Those fruity cubes of sugary gum aren’t going to do your teeth and gums any favors. When you are deciding whether to buy a pack of gum, take a look at the ingredients. If they include sugar or high-fructose corn syrup, put it back on the shelf. Sugary gum is no better for your teeth than any other type of candy, so if you do decide to chew it, be sure to brush and floss well afterward.

Just Say No If You Have Braces

If you have dental braces, you are not going to want to chew any type of gum. It, along with any other sticky candies, will get caught under your brackets and create a big mess. In addition, it can actually bend the wires of your braces. Since the wires are actually straightening your teeth, it’s counterproductive to do anything that would damage them.

Sugar-Free Gum Is a Good Option

Sugar-free gum, particularly the kind that contains xylitol, can actually make your teeth healthier. Why? Chewing it stimulates saliva production, and having more saliva means that plaque and bacteria will be washed away. In addition, the gum creates some friction against your teeth, which can physically scrub away plaque.

One caveat: If you do chew xylitol-containing gum, be sure that your pets can’t access it. Xylitol is highly toxic to dogs and must not be consumed by them.

If you have questions about ways to keep your teeth healthy, give our office a call. We’d be happy to talk to you about how you can boost your dental health at home and with routine office visits.

Creative Commons image by Dan Taylor-Watt

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