The Gum Chewing Habit: Is it a Problem?
There are many reasons to begin a gum habit- bad breath, boredom, stress, hunger, and more. Are you worried your habit is having unexpected side effects? Let’s look at the pros and cons of chewing gum:
Saliva: Saliva is a defensive tool against cavities. Chewing gum can help increase saliva flow. Saliva helps to wash away food particles and bacteria.
Xylitol: Many gums include the ingredient Xylitol as an artificial sweetener. Xylitol has also been studied as a preventative for bacterial growth in the mouth. Read more: http://www.cda.org/Portals/0/pdfs/fact_sheets/xylitol_english.pdf
Heartburn: Some studies have suggested that chewing gum can assist with heartburn, because the extra saliva helps to neutralize the acid in the throat.
Reduced snacking: While the jury is still out, it seems that gum chewing can reduce mindless snacking and the increased caloric intake associated with it.
Sugar: Most gums are sugar free, using artificial sweeteners instead. As long as your gum is sugar free, you don’t have to worry about increased sugar exposure to your teeth. However, some people have adverse gastrointestinal reactions to artificial sweeteners.
Stress: Chewing involves great pressures on your jaw. While your mouth is meant to withstand these pressures, constant chewing has been shown in one study to be related to chronic headaches. It can also cause jaw problems if you consistently chew only on one side of your mouth. Read more: http://www.deardoctor.com/dentistry/blog/chewing-gum-linked-to-headaches-in-kids
Artificial Ingredients: Gum contains many artificial ingredients that may be harmful to your body. Make sure to check the labels to determine your risk.
If you’re concerned about the effect your or your child’s gum chewing habit has on your or their teeth, come in for a consultation. We’ll evaluate the health of your teeth and jaw and give recommendations. The team at Carter Periodontics and Implant Dentistry is passionate about oral health at every stage of life, and is equipped to handle the complicated cases. Contact us today to make an appointment.