Did you know that, according to the Centers for Disease Control, Americans spend an estimated $108 billion per year on general and cosmetic dentistry procedures? While it’s true that many of those costs are unavoidable, thanks in no small part to the effects of time and age on our chompers, the fact is that by eating and drinking properly, and by taking other prophylactic measures to keep our teeth shiny and new, we can avoid many of the largest dental costs. Chewing gum — yes, you read that right — is one such measure.
How Gum Can Improve Your Dental Cosmetics and Health
According to Delta Dental, a dental insurance agency, gum works to clean your teeth by stimulating the production of saliva as you chew. Saliva has the natural ability to neutralize the acids in your mouth, keeping your enamel from breaking down. Further, it washes away food particles from in-between and around your teeth.
What Gum Do Family Dentists Recommend?
As you might imagine, not all gum can help you ward off a visit to your general dentist. As a matter of fact, gum that contains sugar can actually make your visits to the general dentist more frequent. That’s why dentists recommend their patients chew only sugar-free gum. As an added bonus, Xylitol, an artificial sweetener used in sugar-free gum, has a property that reduces the number of plaque-producing bacteria that live in your mouth, as Colgate points out.
Even with the Benefits of Chewing Gum, It’s Not for Everybody
As your general dentist can tell you, while chewing gum can indeed be a wonderful solution that helps to keep your teeth looking and feeling great, it isn’t a viable option for everyone. If you suffer from jaw pain or a chronic condition such as TMJ, chewing gum regularly can actually worsen your condition. It’s better to err on the side of caution here. Call and ask your dentist if they feel you’ll be okay by picking up a gum habit.
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