Have you ever heard that chewing gum is good for your child’s teeth? It is a very popular fact that often gets recited by kids and parents alike. Gum is designed to improve breath and some gum companies claim that their gum can help reduce tooth decay as well. In this article, we will go over the origins of this idea, the theory behind it, and whether or not chewing gum is actually beneficial for dental health.
Many parents assume that gum is great for dental health because gum claims to freshen breath. Many gum brands try to highlight gum as not just something that tastes good but as a part of oral care. However, the real reason dentists have recommended that kids chew gum is because some gum can actually help. Chewing gum causes the mouth to produce more saliva or spit. This can help remove food particles as well as acid or sugar that is attached to the teeth after eating a meal. Sugars and acids are present in many foods and beverages including fruit, juices, and more. When sugar or acid remains on the teeth, it can cause dental decay. That is why dentists recommend that you brush your teeth after a meal. Similarly chewing gum can help remove sugar or acid after a meal, making it a smart decision when your child might not be able to brush their teeth right away (like after a school lunch).
One mistake that some parents make is having their children chew gum that has high sugar content. Excess sugar or acid on the teeth is what causes decay and gum disease. If your child wants to chew gum, they should choose sugarfree or sugarless gum. Otherwise, any benefit caused by chewing gum would be negated by the sugar contents of the gum. Gum should also not be used to replace good dental practices like brushing teeth 2-3 times a day and flossing daily. Gum is best used for after snacks or after school lunch, but it is much more effective to brush your teeth and use mouthwash compared to using gum.
At All Pro Dental we are committed to helping your little boy or girl manage their dental health. If you have other questions about what your child should or shouldn’t do, we would love to help. Just give us a call or send us a message online and one of our team members will get back to you.