People have been chewing gum for various reasons. Some chew gum as a habit and others just want to feel less stressed. But the question is- Is gum good for your teeth? Generally, gums are considered safe. But dentists warn that chewing sugar-sweetened gum for a long period of time could be causing bacteria to infect your teeth that might lead to decay. On the other hand, sugar-free gums are useful for stronger teeth.
What Is Chewing Gum
The Food And Drugs Administration is considering gums as food. It has been labeled as a processed edible substance that is safe for human consumption.
Gums are soft substances with a rubbery texture that is meant to be chewed and not swallowed. Each brand of chewing gums has a distinct flavor that makes their gum unique. Nevertheless, the following ingredients can be found in all gums:
- Gum. This is the ingredient needed to make the gum chewable.
- Flavors. Gums typically come in different flavors to cater to each taste bud’s needs.
- Resin. Added to the gum to hold it together despite the chewing.
- Sweeteners. What makes gums addictive are the sweeteners. It can be artificial or actual sugar.
- Preservatives. These are important to ensure that gums stay edible for as long as possible.
- Softeners. Since they will be chewed for quite some time, softeners will keep the gum moisturized and prevent it from getting hard.
- Fillers. Fillers are used giving the gum its distinct texture.
According to many food critics, there is no harm if you like to chew gum all the time. The ingredients are commonly safe for humans ad do not pose any danger.
However, since most manufacturers are keeping their ingredients top-secret, some brands are quite disputable.
Sugar-Free Gum Is Good For Your Teeth
There are a number of risks and complications if you are wearing a dental appliance and chew gum habitually. While the safety of chewing gum is undebatable, it could cause the mercury from dental fillings to be released. Additionally, gms that are not sugar-free are often causing bacteria to infect the teeth.
When you chew gum, your teeth get exposed to sugar, the number one culprit in the increasing number of tooth decay and erosion.
So what makes gum good for your teeth? The Oral Health Foundation states that sugar-free chewing gums promote the production of saliva. Saliva is important to keep the mouth clean, it washes away bacteria, food particles, debris, and many more. It also reduces acid in the mouth to prevent teeth enamel from getting weak.
Some of the benefits of sugar-free chewing gum for teeth are:
- Preventing cavities
- Strengthening enamel
- Increases the production of saliva
Health Benefits Of Chewing Gum
Surprisingly, you could get a lot of other benefits when you chew gum. Here are some of the reasons why you need chewing gum from time to time.
Want to reduce your huge appetite for food? Go chew a piece of gum regularly. According to studies, chewing gum can help an individual reduce their huge appetite and control their cravings. It can also help you choose healthier food options since you will not feel excessive hunger. This could be a helpful strategy if you are hoping to lose extra pounds.
If you are chewing non-stop for about an hour, you will surely burn at least 11 calories. Just imagine how many calories you burn if you’ve been chewing for a whole day.
Bear in mind that only sugarless gums can strengthen the teeth. Chewing for about 30 minutes after eating could remove food particles and increase your flow of saliva. Your saliva strengthens the enamel of your teeth because of its calcium and phosphate components. Gums are also recommended to prevent the risk of cavities.
As silly as it sounds, gums can improve your memory as well. How does that happen? When you chew a piece of gum, the blood flow to your brain increases respectively. This is a good thing in a manner that good blood flow to the brain improves memory. In fact, studies show that chewing gum for a period of time could increase your memory by 35%.
Having a problem staying focused on work due to drowsiness? A piece of gum can definitely help you. Gums with minty flavors are great options if you want to stay alert and avoid sleepiness.
Fights off Heartburn
Chewing gum after your meal is a good way to decrease the acid levels in the esophagus. Because of this, acid reflux and heartburn may be prevented.
A study on the year 2011 concludes that chewing gum every day can reduce the symptoms of stress, anxiety, fatigue, and depression.
Get Rid of Nausea
Apparently, gums can also comfort an upset stomach. Gums with mint and ginger flavors are effective in eliminating nausea.
Side Effects Of Chewing Gum
All things in moderation are considered safe in general. But if you are chewing gum excessively, to the point that you get addicted to it, that’s when the real problem begins. It can pose harmful effects on your teeth and as well as your overall health. For your reference, listed below are the common negative effects of chewing gum:
- TMJ issues. If you chew for a long period of time, it is possible for you to experience jaw pain. This typically happens when you chew gum on one side of the mouth only. You can prevent this by chewing with different sides of your mouth.
- Risk of tooth damage. Sugar-sweetened gums are great contributors to the development of cavities. Chewing gums will expose your teeth to sugar, the main reason why cavities and tooth decay take place.
- In some cases, people who chew gum habitually tend to eat junk foods instead of healthy foods like fruits and vegetables. This could potentially pose harm not only to your teeth but also to your health in general.
Overall, gums are safe as long as they are chewed in regulation. Moreover, you can benefit more if you choose sugar-free gums than sugary chewing gums.