Is Chewing Gum Good or Bad For Teeth?
Chewing Gum as a Habit
If you find yourself regularly chewing gum, then you may wonder if it’s actually helping or harming your teeth. Your breath may seem fresher afterward, but it is actually cleaning your teeth? Here’s what you need to know about chewing gum and whether or not you should make a habit out of it.
Ingredients of Chewing Gum
Gum is made out of a few main ingredients. There’s the gum, itself, which is usually a kind of chewable rubber, polymers, and /or plasticisers. Then there’s the resin which helps to hold the glue together. Fillers are added to give the gum a pleasant texture. Preservatives are also added to help the gum last longer on the shelf.
Softeners are another crucial ingredient that keeps the gum from hardening up while you chew it. Many gums also have sweeteners designed to make chewing them more enjoyable. Finally, gum usually has some type of flavor added to it.
Not all of the ingredients in gum are good for your teeth. However, some may actually help fight the bacteria in your teeth. It’s vital that you know what ingredients to watch out for.
There are also natural gums made from Chicle, the latex from the Sapodilla tree which is native to Central and South America. These types of chewing gum are also a cut above sugar-free gum and regular chewing gum because they use organic essential oils and natural ingredients. Natural chewing gum may be able to clean teeth better, fight bad breath, and kill bacteria.
The Ingredients You Should Avoid
There are a few ingredients used in some commercial gums that raise controversy. The first is the use of BHT. This is a preservative used in some commercial gums that have been linked to cancer in animals. There aren’t many studies on humans, so it’s difficult to say whether or not BHT is cancerous for humans, too.
However, it’s always a good idea to opt for an organic and safe preservative over one that causes cancer in animals.
Another ingredient to avoid is titanium dioxide. This is an additive that makes the gum a bit whiter and gives it a smoother texture. This is another ingredient that showed it gave rats nervous system and organ damage upon consumption. While there haven’t been any studies for humans, it may concern some gum chewers.
Finally, you may want to avoid an ingredient called aspartame. This is an artificial sweetener that has been linked to anything from obesity to cancer to headaches. Studies done on the ingredient are mixed.
Effects of Chewing Gum on Your Teeth
There are a few benefits of chewing gum. It affects your teeth in certain ways depending on what type of gum you chew. If you want the best chewing gum for your teeth, then you’ll want to buy a sugar-free gum that contains xylitol or a natural gum. Here are a few ways that it can affect your teeth.
Does It Help Whitening Your Teeth?
Certain gums may have white-staining features. However, the primary way in which they can whiten your teeth is by scrubbing off food, oils, and stains from your teeth. Any time you pass the rubber along your teeth, it scrubs and collects any debris clinging to them.
As a result, you may find that your teeth look cleaner and whiter.
This is especially true if you use natural gum. Since natural gum uses essential oils, you may find that some of the ingredients help whiten your teeth.
It Helps Reducing Bad Breath
Chewing gum may have a large impact on how your breath smells. Xylitol, for example, actually kills bacteria. By using gum that contains xylitol, you can kill bad bacteria that cause bad breath in your mouth. As a result, your mouth smells great and is that much cleaner.
Natural gum may also help fight bad breath. Certain essential oils inside of the gum can cover bad breath. They may also kill the bacteria that cause bad bacteria in the first place. However, its important to know bad breath can be an underlaying condition that you must not try covering just with m int and gums.
Is It Okay To Use Chewing Gum Instead Of Brushing Teeth?
You shouldn’t replace brushing your teeth with just chewing gum. There are certain places where your gum can’t reach that a toothbrush can. Instead, you should chew gum to complement your brushing.
Chewing gum after eating, for example, can be a great way to remove food debris from your mouth.
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