Gum chewing is one of those habits that tend to be polarizing-people either chew gum and enjoy it or don’t chew gum and dislike the habit. There’s even some debate about the health risks and benefits of gum chewing. If you are a lifelong gum chewer or if it’s an occasional indulgence for you, here are 3 simple tips to keep your gum chewing on the healthy side.
Tip #1 Read your ingredients. They matter.
Sugar gums are candy, and they act on your teeth like candy. If you chew sugar gum all day, it’s the same as constantly crunching on candy, causing the acidic conditions that encourage cavities to grow. Also be on the lookout for corn syrup or high fructose corn syrup on the label; those are just other ways of saying sugar.
Sugar free gum, unlike sugary gum, can actually help restore a healthy pH to the mouth by stimulating saliva. But, not all sugar free sweeteners are created equal. Aspartame and Acesulfame Potassium are artificial chemicals that are classified as safe by the FDA that are still a cause for concern in some individuals. On the other hand, xylitol is plant based, and it has been shown to have benefits for oral health and may help reduce the incidence of cavities.
Tip #2 Choose when to chew your gum. When can be a big helper.
To maximize the benefit of chewing your CTx2 Xylitol Gum, consider chewing after a meal, particularly if you won’t have the opportunity to brush your teeth 30-60 minutes after eating. The action of chewing increases salivary flow, allowing the saliva to bathe the food particles off your teeth and help pH return to normal levels.
It’s also a good idea to chew gum to relieve dry mouth. Whether your dry mouth is chronic, associated with a medical condition or the medication you use to treat a medical condition, or if your dry mouth is occasional, chewing gum can help your mouth make more saliva, which reduces your chance of dry mouth related cavities and gum disease.
Tip #3 Know when to stop.
While there are benefits to chewing gum for 30 minutes after meals, chewing gum all day, every day can aggravate certain other conditions. Acid reflux sufferers can experience more acid reflux if they chew gum too long. Sugar free sweeteners called sugar alcohols can increase bloating in individuals who are sensitive to sugar alcohols. Also, people who suffer from TMJ pain can aggravate the soreness in their jaw with constant gum chewing. With gum chewing, as with most health matters, balance is key.