It’s a habit many people across the world chew on every day—literally.
There are thousands of varieties, some which even claim to improve your mood, reduce hunger cravings or stimulate brain activity.
But what kind of effect does chewing gum actually have on your teeth? Here are a few facts about gum to help set the record straight.
- Sugar-free gum can help clean your teeth—though you’ll still need to brush normally. Sugar-free gum can actually help to rinse off bacteria on the teeth after eating meals.
- Chewing gum of any sort may lead to jaw trouble like TMJ. Why? A constant chewing motion on one side of your jaw can create an imbalance in jaw muscles, leading to things like headaches, earaches and even toothaches.
- Sugar-free gum sweetened with xylitol can help prevent cavities. How? Xylitol inhibits the growth of Streptococcus mutans, which is an oral bacteria that can lead to cavities.
- Chewing gum can lead to more junk-food cravings. While some people opt for a piece of gum to help overcome a food craving, it can have the opposite effect. Studies have shown that gum chewers are more likely to reach for junk food instead of healthy foods like fruit during a meal. Junk foods are often sweet and high in sugar, which is no good for your pearly whites.
The final word? It’s best to skip chewing gum if you can, though if you’re an avid gum chewer, opt for a sugar-free pack as it causes far less damage to your teeth and overall health.
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For more information about tooth health, read our dental check ups page.