Chewing gum after meals might be the unlikely ally for stopping tooth decay, according to a review of 12 studies. The caveat? The gum must be sugar-free.
This review of 12 studies published over the past five decades was carried out by researchers at King's College, London. Chewing gum, the sugar-free variety, can potentially reduce the growth and also the incidence of dental cavities by up to 28 percent. Which is quite a lot, isn't it?
“There is a considerable degree of variability in the effect from the published data and the trials included were generally of moderate quality,” said lead researcher Professor Avijit Banerjee about the review. “However, we felt there was a definite need to update and refresh existing knowledge about sugar-free gum and its effect on dental caries and oral health. We are planning further research to determine the acceptability and feasibility of using this method in public health.”
Chewing gum works with flossing and brushing
So yeah, chewing gum can work together with tooth brushing and flossing as a way to keep your teeth healthier. Until now, the evidence was flimsy at best.
“Both the stimulation of saliva which can act as a natural barrier to protect teeth, and the mechanical plaque control that results from the act of chewing, can contribute to the prevention of dental caries,” said Prof Banerjee. “Sugar-free gum can also act as a carrier for antibacterial ingredients including xylitol and sorbitol. No recent conclusive evidence existed prior to this review that showed the relationship between slowing the development of caries and chewing sugar-free gum.”
If you're having issues with your breath, then check out these things you could do to help!
And obviously, stay clear of sugar, because it is the most dangerous thing for your teeth!