Can Chewing Gum Damage Your Teeth?

Photo of a big pack of sugar-free Orbit chewing gum.
Image by Karan Kumar from Pixabay

For many of us, chewing gum is a habit we don’t think twice about. However, chewing gum might either be increasing your risk for cavities or fighting tooth decay, depending on the type of gum you’re using. Here’s a little more information to help you decide if your chewing gum is affecting your oral health.

Sugarless Gum Can Help Clean Your Teeth

Chewing sugarless gum after a meal can actually help clean your teeth. Why? Chewing gum stimulates saliva production. Saliva is one of your body’s natural defenses against cavities. It washes leftover food particles and debris from the surface of your teeth and contains enzymes that are important for digestion. Therefore, chewing sugarless gum after a meal can give you a kick start when it comes to tooth cleanliness.

Sugary Chewing Gum Can Increase Your Risk for Cavities

On the other hand, sugary chewing gum can provide fuel for oral bacteria, which feed on sugars and starches to produce acid. Over time, acid wears away at the surface of your teeth, resulting in cavities. Far from cleaning your teeth, sugary gum may contribute to tooth decay. If you do chew sugary gum, we recommend drinking a glass of water afterward to wash some of the leftover sugar residue from your mouth.

Chewing Gum Can Lead to Wear on Your Teeth

In addition to increasing your risk for cavities, chewing gum can also damage your teeth through wear and tear over time. If you chew gum all day long, the impact from grinding and chewing can take a toll on your teeth. Not only can this lead to increased tooth sensitivity, it can also increase your risk for tooth decay. Excessive gum chewing can also cause discomfort in your jaw.

Oral Health Care in Columbia, SC

Here’s the real scoop – chewing gum in moderation is generally okay, and chewing sugarless gum after a meal can even help fight cavities. If you’re worried about the impact of chewing gum on your oral health, schedule a visit with Bethea Family Dentistry. Regular preventive care appointments allow our team to monitor your oral health and let you know about potential problems. To ask us any questions or to schedule an appointment, call us today!

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