Chewing gum ally or enemy of oral health

Known for a long time as the villains of oral health, at present some chewing gum changed sides and can be considered allies. Some brands promise to clear the teeth, and it is correct to say that the gum can contribute to the increase in salivary flow and even remove the remains of food that remain accumulated in the teeth after meals. However, those that contain sugar in their composition continue to cause more harm than good.

The first positive point in favor of sugar-free gum is related to the cleaning of teeth. These chewing gums can be an option for those people who eat something and do not have the ideal conditions ─with a brush, toothpaste and floss to clean themselves. It is a minimal help; ideally, the patient should maintain conventional sanitation, but chewing gum can be an accessory. That’s right: it never replaces brushing??

Chewing gum produces an increase in salivary flow. Saliva, in turn, has an essential role for oral health, since it acts in defense of the organism, keeps the tissues moist and contributes to the removal of food debris. Patients who have dry mouth as a result of a disease, such as diabetes, often use sugar-free gum in a therapeutic way, just to produce more saliva and minimize the damage of xerostomia.

The increase in salivary flow also helps to rebalance the pH of the mouth, which becomes acidic when we eat foods with sugar, and to demineralize the tooth enamel, so that the teeth are less susceptible to decay. On the other hand, chewing sugar gums have the opposite effect, since they leave the oral cavity more acidic, which promotes enamel wear and makes the environment more conducive to the development of caries.

Like the rest of the physical exercises, chewing can increase muscle tone, but its excessive use can cause facial and headaches. Patients with occlusion problems should be even more careful when chewing gum.

With regard to the possible bleaching effect promised by some brands, there are still controversies. Both professionals defend that to make teeth whitening it is necessary to use chemical products that, when they come into constant contact with the oral cavity, can cause lesions in the gums or on the tongue, in addition to increasing the sensitivity of the teeth. So, if you want to clear your teeth, the best option is to talk with your dentist.