Meals don’t always come with a toothbrush on the side. Few of us enjoy walking around for the rest of the day with the lingering smell of morning coffee or onions we had for lunch. To combat this smell, you might turn to breath mints or chewing gum. While these items can freshen your breath, did you know that they can also aid in the prevention of tooth decay? Here’s how it works.
Chewing gum increases your flow of saliva. This saliva can wash away remains of your meal, neutralize acids, and fight diseases in the mouth. In addition, saliva contains calcium and phosphate, which strengthens your enamel, so more saliva means more of these beneficial minerals!
Here’s the thing: chew sugar-free gum. While any gum will increase the flow of saliva, plaque bacteria feeds off of sugar to create acids that can lead to tooth decay. So to reap the benefits of chewing gum, look for flavors sweetened with aspartame, xylitol, sorbitol or mannitol. These sugar-free options can be easily identified by looking for the ADA Seal, which ensures that the ADA has verified these products as safe and effective.
While chewing sugar-free gum can help to prevent cavities, it is still vital to brush and floss your teeth, as recommended by the ADA. This is the best way to protect your teeth against decay-causing bacteria. If you’re in a pinch and don’t have access to your toothbrush, a stick of sugar-free gum can be a quick fix for your breath and your dental health.