Eliminating bad habits that can harm your dental health is a great first step in restoring your smile’s youthful appearance. You have probably heard that chewing on any food which is sticky, or takes a while to chew is generally bad for your teeth. In the case of sugar-free chewing gum, this is actually not true due to a common sugar substitute called “Xylitol”. There are several benefits to chewing sugar-free gum, and it may actually help prevent cavities and other oral diseases.
Obviously, if you chewed on a wad of sugar-laden candy for a few hours without brushing your teeth, you would run a great risk of developing tooth decay. In order for chewing gum to be somewhat beneficial, it must be sweetened with Xylitol, and not sugar. Bacteria that live in your mouth are unable to metabolize xylitol like they do sugar; therefore they cannot produce large amounts of harmful, decay-causing acids.
What Exactly IS Xylitol?
Naturally occurring within our bodies, Xylitol is a popular sugar substitute that is endorsed by several dental associations for being an excellent sweetener that does not promote tooth decay. It is found throughout nature, especially in some fruits, berries, mushrooms, and lettuce. Xylitol is safe for people of all ages, but should never be given to animals as it can cause an unsafe drop in blood sugar levels.
If You Can’t Brush, Chew!
Brushing your teeth after every meal is ideal, but ultimately it is not always possible. You could carry a travel toothbrush and toothpaste with you everywhere you go, but most people are not willing to do this, and prefer the convenience of a pack of sugar-free gum. Chewing gum after you eat can help to remove lingering food particles, and increase your saliva production. Having a dry mouth contributes to the formation of tooth decay because your saliva helps neutralize acids and wash away harmful bacteria.
ABOUT YOUR SHERIDAN, WY DENTISTS:
Questions about our Sheridan, WY dentist office? To learn more about our services, or to schedule an appointment with one of our doctors, contact us at (307) 672-7567. We welcome residents of Sheridan, Gillette, Billings, Miles City, and the neighboring communities.