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Surprising Oral Health Benefits of Sugarless Gum

Posted on 9/19/2022 by Dr. Michael Wockenfus
Surprising Oral Health Benefits of Sugarless GumChewing sugary gum allows the sugar to dissolve in the saliva. Bacteria in plaque absorb the sugar, whereby the bacterial cells receive the energy they need to reproduce. Failure to eliminate bacteria in the mouth gives them a chance to multiply and increase in population. Brushing and flossing are crucial in helping combat the population increase of oral bacteria. Excess bacteria in the mouth leads to mouth acids and eventually decay, gum disease, and tooth loss. Chewing sugar-free gum can help prevent the buildup of oral bacteria, hence reducing the odds of having cavities and gum disease.

What is Sugar-free Gum?

Sugar-free gum contains sugar alcohols or synthetic sugar like xylitol, which is a naturally-occurring sweetener you find in vegetables and fruits. Xylitol contains about 50 percent of the calories of sugar. It is considered safe to consume even for diabetics.

How Sugar-free Gum Benefits your Oral Health

Just like sugar, xylitol is quickly absorbed by bacteria. Nonetheless, after it has been absorbed, the bacteria use their energy to drive out xylitol rather than using the energy to reproduce. As such, bacteria are less likely to stick to the teeth. Also, since they use their energy to expel xylitol, they tend to die off. The bacteria population in the mouth thus reduces when you chew sugarless gum.

In addition, chewing sugar-free gum helps increase saliva production. As such, it helps prevent the unpleasant symptoms of mouth dryness, including bad breath. Saliva flushes out food debris that may result in cavities and gum disease. Additionally, saliva neutralizes acids within the mouth, helping reduce acid reflux and erosion of the enamel. Saliva has antimicrobial agents that fight oral bacteria. The saliva your mouth produces when chewing gum is stimulated saliva. This mean that it contains higher protein concentrations that the teeth need to get defense from erosive acids in the mouth.

Chewing sugar-free gum in small or moderate amounts and frequency offers some short-term benefits. However, it cannot substitute good oral hygiene practices such as flossing and brushing or checkups and cleanings. Sugar-less gum is not as bad for the mouth as regular gum. Talk to us to gain more understanding of oral your health. Visit our office today.

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Michael J. Wockenfus, DDS created a blog to educate the community. It is your resource for all dentistry questions. Learn and read topics in the blog here!
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