Articles

Chewing Gum and Your Teeth

by Andrew Nicholas Dental Blogger

Gum is a form of confectionery that people have been chewing on for years. The National Consumer Survey shows that 53.5% of the US population consumed gum in 2017. The confectionery is considered to be a snack globally while some may even chew it as a relief to stress.

While most individuals assume that chewing gum is harmless, it can actually have a negative impact on your teeth, if you don’t chew the right gum. This is mainly due to the ingredients used to make it and therefore you should consider evaluating the gum you chew.

How Safe are the Ingredients in Gum?

While gums are safe to chew on, some ingredients in it can be detrimental to your oral health. You need to be wary of these ingredients when you buy a pack and make sure these minimal or not present at all. They aren’t only restricted to causing oral problems but also can have a negative impact on other parts of the body.

Aspartame

In order to sweeten the gum aspartame is added. The artificial sweetener is found in some sugar-free gum as it is usually added to most sugar-free products to sweeten it.

While the ingredient is endorsed by ADA and FDA, the sweetener can take a toll on your teeth and health. Constant exposure to aspartame has the same impact as consuming sugar which can lead to cavities and tooth decay.

The American Cancer Society(ACS) states that the ingredient is much sweeter than sugar and therefore only a small amount should be consumed. That is why you need to be diligent when picking a gum to ensure the level of aspartame is low. The ACS has also concluded that studies relating aspartame to cancer have been inconclusive but it has been linked to phenylketonuria.

Titanium Dioxide

To provide gum with a smooth texture and its white color, titanium dioxide is added by producers. The ingredient is controversial as animal studies have shown that it has an impact on the nervous system and can lead to organ damage.

However, in terms of human, the results are mixed and there is no clear study that shows a similar impact. As long as the consumption of titanium dioxide is kept low, humans are safe from its negative impacts. But why would you want to expose your body to an ingredient that may pose a threat to it?

Besides the ingredients and their impact, gum, in general, can cause the following:

•    Stress and pain in the jaw: While chewing gum, there is additional stress applied to your jaw. This is due to the continuous movement of the jaw and also the force applied to it to the chewing motion. Those that make it a habit are put at risk of Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TJD). This occurs in the jaw causing pain in the joints of the jaw and can result in neck pain.

•    Digestive problems: The digestive system is connected to the mouth. As you continue to chew, your stomach stays active and doesn’t receive the proper time to rest that it needs. This is due to the production of saliva and it continues going down to your stomach. Which prompts the stomach to stay active and can eventually lead to digestion and stomach problems.

Should You Consider Dropping Chewing Gum Altogether?

While most gums do use preservatives and sweeteners which can be bad for your teeth in the long run, natural gum is your best bet if you want to continue the habit. You just need to make sure that while it is sugarless it doesn’t contain aspartame.

In fact, natural gum can actually be good for your teeth. A panel of expert Ocala dentists highlight the following benefit associated with chewing natural gum:

Increases Flow of Saliva

Chewing gum 20 minutes after meals can help counter the acids that are produced while food digestion. The acid can be harmful to your teeth as they can break down tooth enamel, which can lead to decay. The increased flow of saliva keeps the acid in check, helps break down any food particle stuck between teeth, and also provides additional calcium and phosphate which can strengthen the enamel. All of this leads to the prevention of tooth decay.

The benefits aren’t just limited to your oral health. It can also:

Improve Cognitive Performance and Mood

A study conducted on the effects of chewing gum on cognitive performance and mood showed that those that chewed gum were more alert and performed tasks attentively. This led the study to conclude that work productivity increases when individuals chew gum. It also leads to raised cortisol level in the morning which resulted in better moods in the individuals. Which is also why it has been linked to reducing stress.

Gum has also been linked to improving memory. While the link between chewing gum and increased short and long-term memory hasn’t been found. Researchers believe that the action leads to an increase in blood flow to the brain which allows it to function better leading to enhanced memory.

Chewing gum has its positives and negatives. However, you can navigate past the negatives with natural gum. Don’t just go by the sugar-free stamp on labels, be sure to check the ingredients of the gum to make sure that it truly is sugar-free and doesn’t contain too much aspartame, if any at all.

You can even ask your dentists and they will probably end up recommending chewing gum post meals, as long as it is sugar-free. So you don’t need to drop the habit at all. Just make sure you are careful about the gum you decide to chew.


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About Andrew Nicholas Junior   Dental Blogger

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Joined APSense since, February 7th, 2019, From Tampa, FL, United States.

Created on Feb 7th 2019 00:36. Viewed 227 times.

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