Gum, in many forms, has been around for centuries. Originally derived from tree sap, gum today is made of synthetic materials like gum base, sweeteners, softeners/plasticizers, and polyol coating. Chewing gum increases salivary flow within the mouth and can help wash away acids produced after bacteria break down food. While gum has the American Dental Association (ADA) approval, gum with sugar carries a cariogenic risk (the ADA recommends sugar-free gum).
Cariogenic means that it causes tooth decay. The acid from the sugary ingredients, even synthetic ingredients, causes the mouth to produce acid at a higher rate than normal, attacking tooth enamel, ultimately causing erosion and eventually cavities. If a gum has a pH lower than 5.5, it will likely contribute to this decay.
Sugar-free gum is the way to go and what holistic dentist Miami would recommend. A gum is sugar-free if it has less than 0.5 grams of sugar in one single serving. The cariogenicity of gum that has sugar largely depends on its consistency, time spent chewing, how often you chew it, and if it was consumed before eating foods that reduce acid production. However, chewing sugar-free gum can increase saliva production, reducing plaque, strengthening teeth, and reducing the amount of tooth decay over time. Chewing gum recommended by holistic dentistry Miami can also reduce the symptoms of dry mouth.
Gum is not a replacement for brushing and flossing, rather helpful support in keeping great oral health. The ADA’s recommendation is to brush twice a day and floss once a day.