Chewing Gum and Teeth

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When our third child was 2, she would always say,  “When I’m a big girl, I get bubble gum!” So when we were ready to potty train, we gave her gum when she would poo in the potty.  She was so excited to be potty trained. We’ve never been so grateful for gum in our lives.  When I was younger, I was told that if you swallowed gum it would stay in your tummy for 7 years. Well let’s see if we can put any

Is chewing gum bad for your teeth?

Clinical studies have shown that chewing gum for 20 minutes after a meal can help prevent cavities and tooth decay. Gum can increase saliva in your mouth which can help neutralize and wash away the acid in your mouth.  Saliva carries calcium and phospate which help strengthen your teeth.  Chewing gum can also help clear food off of the teeth.  Having said this, not all kinds of gum are created equal.  Sugar containing gum increases acid production by plaque.  Prolonged acid exposure leads to cavities. Because of this, dentists highly recommend sticking with sugar free gum.

Does gum replace teeth brushing?

No. Chewing gum is helpful but should not replace brushing or flossing. The American Dental Association recommend brushing twice a day with fluoridated toothpaste and flossing once a day.

Are there certain kinds of gum that are better than others?

Look for gum with the ADA Seal. Gum with this seal has been evaluated by the American Dental Association and has demonstrated that it’s product meets these requirements: Reduce plaque acids, promote remineralization of tooth enamel, reduce cavities and/or gingivitis, and is safe for the mouth.

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Dr. Gardner also recommends gum with xylitol. The California Dental Association states that “Xylitol inhibits the growth of the bacteria that cause cavities. It does this because these bacteria (Streptococcus mutans) cannot utilize xylitol to grow. Over time with xylitol use, the quality of the bacteria in the mouth changes and fewer and fewer decay-causing bacteria survive on tooth surfaces.” (www.cda.org/Portals/0/pdfs/fact_sheets/xylitol_english.pdf) Research has shown that kids whose mothers chewed xylitol gum while pregnant were less likely to get cavities before age 6.  That’s important because children under 6 are harder to treat in the dental clinic and may need sedation to comfortably treat.

Here at Little People’s Dental we say bring on the gum as long as it is ADA sealed or helps you potty train your little ones and does not replace regular dental hygiene!

 

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