The act of gum chewing has been around since ancient times. In Greece, people would chew sap from the mastic tree. While in another part of the world, the Mayans were gnawing on the sapodilla tree sap. Native Americans in New England habitually chewed sap from the spruce tree. They learned this practice from English settlers. Nowadays, with the aid of modern technology, most civilized people no longer chew sap.
Chewing gum products of today are a mixture of waxes, synthetic resins and a latex material called elastomers. This substance is added to provide elasticity; it makes gum chewy. Although gum is often characterized as candy, The American Dental Association differs. The ADA has recognized sugarless gum as a valuable cavity fighting tool.
Benefits of chewing gum
When chewing occurs in the mouth more saliva is produced. The increased amount of saliva neutralizes acids and lifts away food particles, and harmful bacteria. Acid is produced by plaque bacteria on the teeth. Over time, if not removed, plaque will harden into tartar and destroy tooth enamel, making teeth vulnerable to decay or even disease. More saliva means more protection for your teeth.
Sugar-free chewing gum
Studies have shown that people who chew sugar-free gum for at least 20 minutes after eating have a significantly reduced risk of developing tooth decay. Currently, there are so many chewing gum varieties on the market claiming to offer therapeutic components. Some include properties that will re-mineralize teeth and fight cavities. Others are created to control tartar by reducing plaque and in turn, prevent gingivitis.
Chewing sugarless gum can be a valuable part of your oral health routine. Keep in mind, it does not take the place of twice daily brushing with a fluoride toothpaste, and flossing. That is still the most effective way to take care of your teeth and gums. Use gum chewing as an aid, especially when a toothbrush and toothpaste are not readily available.
ADA approval standards
Some gums are better suited for dental purposes than others. The ADA will only grant their seal to sugar-free gums that meet their strict guidelines. If a brand doesn’t meet the required efficacy standards they won’t receive the coveted seal. Approved sweeteners that do not cause tooth decay are aspartame, mannitol, and sorbitol. The product also needs to be shown to help reduce plaque and strengthen teeth by actively increasing saliva production. You will be sure to receive the desired chewing gum benefits if you look for the ADA seal.