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To Chew or Not to Chew, That is the Question

I think we’ve all wondered about the potential risks of chewing gum; are we basically chewing on candy the entire time or is gum actually a more functional snack?  We typically use gum to freshen our breath, to satisfy a sweet tooth or even to quench our thirst.  Perhaps some of us just enjoy the act of chewing, but did you know that there are actually some dental advantages to enjoying this delicious treat?  Read on to learn what Dr. Michael Popp at Marlborough Dental is saying about the chewing gum benefits.


Not all chewing gums are created equal.  The type of gum you choose to munch on is imperative when it comes to your dental health.  Many types are loaded with sugar and can increase your chances of cavities.  In fact, most gums are created this way and therefore, are just candy and should be enjoyed in moderation.  However, in recent years, gum manufacturers have started making sugar-free gums.  These sugar-free treats are sweetened with Xylitol, which is an alcohol-based sweetener with beneficial properties for your teeth. 


Here’s how it works:  Research has shown that popping a piece of sugar-free gum in your mouth following meals can remove bacteria from your teeth.  The physical motion of chewing, and the increased amount of saliva due to the Xylitol, helps remove food particles and bacteria from your teeth.  Xylitol is also proven to reduce the amount of bacteria production since the sweetener doesn’t allow for bacteria to penetrate tooth surfaces.  Therefore, the development of cavities overall is more restricted.  It gets even better!  If Xylitol is used regularly over time, it can continue to prevent cavity causing bacteria from attaching to teeth and further limiting the survival of bacteria in your mouth.   


That sounds like a win-win situation to me!  So not only can you still enjoy a sweet snack after meals, or quickly freshen your breath, but you can do it all simultaneously while taking care of your teeth.  Who would have thought chewing gum could provide so many benefits to your oral health.  If you have any questions about sugar-free gum or need some suggestions, call Dr. Michael Popp at Marlborough Dental Centre in NE Calgary at 403.248.2066.

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