Chewing gum is good for your teeth

That chewing gum is bad for your teeth is one of those old myths that is still hanging around. I wonder if those who perpetuate this myth are of the school of thought that decrees that anything you enjoy has to be bad for you and that suffering is the way to heaven.

Are you ready for this? Chewing gum is actually good for your teeth. There, I said it.

Let’s go one step further. If you’re out and about and don’t have access to a toothbrush and toothpaste, this is the second-best alternative to brushing your teeth—with one reservation, and that is the sugar issue. If you chew only while the sugar lasts and then throw the gum away, you will get a sugar attack on your teeth and won’t see the benefits. But if you chew it for longer, it helps clean your teeth.

The actual gum is pretty inert. It isn’t digestible and it doesn’t promote decay. It does two things. First, it mechanically cleans the surfaces of your teeth as you chew. Second, and probably the most beneficial, it promotes the flow of saliva. Here’s why that is good:

Saliva is great stuff. Besides having enzymes that digest carbohydrates, it has antibodies that fight decay-causing bacteria, it contains buffers that neutralize the acids that eat at your teeth, and it contains minerals that help rebuild parts of your teeth that have been attacked by decay acid. This repair process by your saliva is a very important part of fighting tooth decay. So when you chew chewing gum and stimulate the flow of saliva, you have all these good things happening in your mouth.

Further information:

  • Some companies make chewing gum for bad breath.
  • Do people who get lots of cavities have soft teeth? Click the link to find out.

This content was written by Dr. David Hall.