Does Chewing Gum Cause Cavities Or Prevent Them?

Posted on 10/31/2023 by office
Woman putting gum into her mouth at Perrinville Family DentistryOver 160 million Americans chew gum regularly. There are many reasons why people chew gum. Often, people chew gum to freshen their breath or as a replacement for smoking cigarettes. You may think that chewing gum is the perfect way to make it through your day- but is it good for your teeth? Here are some answers.

The Advantages

There are several benefits to chewing gum. First, chewing gum can keep you from bad habits, such as chewing tobacco or smoking cigarettes. These are damaging to your body overall, but they are particularly harmful to your teeth and gums because they slow healing and contribute to both tooth decay and gum disease. Second, chewing gum that does not contain sugar can benefit your mouth in multiple ways. It contributes to saliva production, which gets rid of harmful bacteria in your mouth. Also, it keeps your breath fresh and works to clear your mouth of leftover food particles.

The Disadvantages

While there are a lot of advantages to chewing gum, if you overdo it, you can have problems with your mouth. The main reason chewing gum can be problematic is your jawbone. If you constantly chew gum and you like to keep two or three pieces in your mouth at all times, you may be overdoing it for your jaw joint or temporomandibular joint. Your jaw joint can become inflamed, which causes pain. Eventually, you may end up with TMD, or temporomandibular joint disorder. This disorder can lead to pain, swelling, and difficulty opening or closing your mouth. Also, if you chew gum with sugar in it, you are contributing to bacterial growth in your mouth. Bacteria in your mouth love sugar, and the more bacteria you have in your mouth, the more cavities you may get.
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