By Kelsi Matylewicz/ Social Media Intern, Benco Dental
Did your parents used to tell you that chewing gum would give you cavities? According to Medical Daily, this is not the case.
Chewing gum is a billion-dollar industry with an average of 280 sticks of gum consumed per person per year . No need to worry though, your are contributing to the maintenance of oral health.
According to a study by the Journal of Dental Research, in most gums, the gum-base is supplemented with sweeteners, flavors, and other agents. However, sugar is now often replaced by artificial sweeteners such as sorbitol, xylitol, or mannitol. The addition these sugarless additives have been found to reduce the formation of oral biofilms, which is the cause of infectious diseases such as cavities and periodontal disease.
A team of researchers from University of Groningen in the Netherlands wanted to observe whether chewing gum can remove bacteria from the oral cavity. Five biomedical engineering students were recruited to chew two different standard types of spearmint gum for various lengths of time ranging from 30 seconds to 10 minutes. Afterward, the gum was spit into a cup filled with sterile water to be analyzed.
The findings revealed there were about 100 million bacteria detected on each piece of chewed up gum, with the number increasing as chewing time increased. The gum starts to lose its adhesiveness after 30 seconds of chewing, trapping less bacteria.
Chewing gum does not remove bacteria from the same places of the dentition as does brushing or flossing and each act targets different areas of the mouth.
As a reminder: The American Dental Association advises that chewing gum is not an adjunct to brushing and flossing, nor a substitute; brushing twice a day and using dental floss is still recommended.