Did you know that chewing certain types of gum can improve your dental health? Now, not every gum is good for your teeth, but there are some gums available that actually help break down plaque bacteria and keep your teeth clean of the decay causing microorganisms. While we don’t recommend giving up toothbrushing, some studies have found that the gums which contain a specific key ingredient help repel plaque so well that it’s almost as effective as brushing your teeth if you chew it 5 times a day. Does it sound too good to be true? It’s not!
What gums help fight plaque? The ones that contain the unique 5-carbon sugar known as Xylitol are. Xylitol is a sugar that is used to sweeten the gum instead of table sugar, but its molecular makeup causes it to prevent bacteria from clinging to the surface of tooth enamel. Instead, those bacteria are broken up and repelled from the surface, protecting your teeth and gums from diseases like tooth decay, gingivitis, and gum disease. Less tooth decay means fewer fillings, crowns, and other tooth restorations.
When you’re at the office our out running errands, grab a piece of Xylitol-sweetened gum if you’re not able to brush your teeth. 5 exposures to Xylitol a day can be extremely beneficial in addition to your normal oral hygiene routine. The package of gum will most likely have the ingredient mentioned on the very front of the packaging, making it easy for you to determine whether or not it’s an ingredient.
Unfortunately, regular gums that contain sugar can cause some of the most severe tooth decay in anyone’s teeth. If you’re a gum chewer or someone that’s just looking to improve their smile, grab a package of Xylitol gum the next time you’re at the check-out.
Posted on behalf of Dr. James C. Kincaid
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