As consumers, we tend to think of chewing gum as candy which should be avoided to achieve optimal oral health. While that is true for gum made with sugar, the American Dental Association (ADA) recognizes sugar free chewing gum that has scientifically proven its ability to protect teeth with the ADA Seal of Acceptance.
In order to earn the ADA Seal of Acceptance, chewing gum manufacturers must have their products evaluated by the ADA Council on Scientific Affairs, which is an independent body of scientific experts. The product up for consideration must do at least one of the following: reduce plaque acids, reduce cavities, reduce gingivitis, and/or promote remineralization of tooth enamel. It also must be sweetened by non-cavity-causing sweeteners; some of the most common are aspartame, sorbitol, and mannitol.
Sugar-free gum can help protect teeth because the physical act of chewing increases salivary flow. This is particularly beneficial after eating because the bacteria in plaque on your teeth produce acids as food is broken down. Chewing gum after eating can help neutralize and wash away those acids. By washing away those acids with saliva, you reduce some of the conditions that cause tooth decay. Increased saliva flow also carries more calcium and phosphate to your teeth, which may help strengthen your teeth.
Sugar free chewing gum benefits are so scientifically sound that Wrigley partners with the FDI World Dental Federation for World Oral Health Day in March. And, since 2013, the company’s Polish division has been partnering with the Polish Dental Association to promote better oral care habits and hand out sugar free gum and toothpaste.
While sugar free chewing gum can be beneficial, it’s no substitute for good oral hygiene. The ADA considers it adjacent to brushing twice a day with fluoride toothpaste and flossing daily.
If you have any questions about sugar free gum or need to schedule a dental checkup, call Huntingdon Valley Dental Arts to schedule an appointment with Dr. Makrauer or Dr. Miller.