Many people worldwide will routinely chew gum every day, and there are numerous varieties to choose from. In addition to plain old mint, some chewing gum brands claim to improve mood, stimulate brain activity or reduce hunger cravings. But, if you like to chew gum, have you thought about its effect on your teeth? We’ve put together a few facts about chewing gum for you to think about.
- Sugar-free gum helps to stimulate saliva production, rinsing away some bacteria after eating, although you’ll still need to brush and floss!
- The continuous chewing motion when you enjoy a piece of gum can lead to jaw problems like TMJ, and especially if you tend to chew on just one side. TMJ can cause facial pain, toothache, headaches and even earaches.
- Chewing sugar-free gum with xylitol can help to prevent cavities because xylitol inhibits the growth of an oral bacterium called Streptococcus mutans which is known to cause tooth decay.
- Some people choose gum to reduce food cravings, but studies have shown that it could have the opposite effect. Gum chewers are more likely to choose junk food rather than healthy foods that are good for your dental and general health.