The many promises of dental gum

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The high hopes of dental gum – How much does it really help?

Haven’t we all heard this before? Just chew a yummy dental gum after every meal and you can forget about brushing your teeth. Nowadays, quite a few manufacturers of dental gum advertise this and other similar promises on TV and other marketing channels to attract consumers to their products. Supposedly, special chewing gums help with removing harmful dental plaque and, according to some claims, can also make one’s teeth whiter. But are these lofty advertising slogans true or are they just empty words?

Do dental gums really help with dental care?

In general, dental gums have a positive effect on dental care since they can help neutralize acids inside the oral cavity. After every meal, an acidic pH-value manifests inside the mouth, which can cause tooth decay. Dental chewing gums prevent this from happening by stimulating salivation which, in turn, provides for useful minerals that can help neutralize acids and contribute to the preservation of dental enamel. Thus, for those among us, who can’t get to brushing their teeth after every single meal, chewing dental gum is a solid second-best solution. Still, it is important to remember that, while dental gums can help with the prevention of tooth decay, they can’t help with restoring previously damaged teeth. A key fact to remember: Only opt for dental gums that do not contain sugar!

Can dental gums replace brushing?

The answer to this question is short and to-the-point: No!

Dental gums that, according to commercials, can destroy pesky dental plaque with their micro-granular compounds, can possibly destroy lighter plaques but are completely powerless against thicker, more resistant plaques. Also, dental gums can not reach plaques between teeth and can, thus, not effectively combat them. Another key fact to remember: dental gums can never replace brushing!

Can dental gums help in any other way?
As already mentioned, dental gums can help neutralize harmful acids that form inside the oral cavity after a meal. On top of that, some types of dental gum can have additional beneficial effects due to their specific ingredients:
  • Calcium-containing dental gum: As almost all of us have certainly heard, calcium is good for your teeth. Therefore, many people take calcium tablets daily. Unfortunately, only a fraction of the calcium in those tablets ever reaches the teeth. Calcium-containing dental gum can accelerate calcium enrichment and achieve better results than tablets.
  • Fluoride-containing dental gum: The same logic that applies to calcium-containing dental gum is also true for fluoride-containing dental gum. Additionally, scientific studies have shown that chewing fluoride-containing dental gum does indeed yield better results than taking fluoride tablets.
  • Xylitol-containing dental gum: Xylitol is an active ingredient that has a positive effect on dental health, given that it cannot be easily disintegrated by bacteria (and even if it is, the byproduct is not acidic). Xylitol also blocks a range of enzymes which, in turn, slows down the rate at which bacteria multiply inside the oral cavity. According to medical research studies, roughly 6 grams of xylitol per day can make a significant contribution to the prevention of tooth decay.
To summarize what we’ve learned so far: while dental gum does have a positive effect on dental health, it cannot possibly replace brushing your teeth. With that said, since dental gum can be a good complement to your dental hygiene routine, you can keep chewing happily ever after – as long as it is sugar-free gum!

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