Chewing gum is widely consumed throughout Canada and across North America. Some people chew it as a snack, while others chew it as a habit, and yet others chew it as a breath freshener. No matter the reasons why you choose to chew gum, it is important that you know the pros and cons of this habit, so you can better decide if it is right for you.
The Good and Bad
Before you continue chewing gum, here are some facts you should be aware of:
- Pro: It Cleans the Mouth and Freshens Breath - This is not a myth; gum can in fact clean your mouth out and help freshen up your breath. If you are unable to brush or floss after a meal, chewing gum could be a good alternative.
- Con: It Could Trigger TMJ - Chewing gum too frequently could lead to jaw muscle imbalance, especially if you chew on one side more than the other. This could also spark TMJ (temporomandibular joint) disorder, which can turn into a painful, chronic condition.
- Pro: Aids in Saliva Production - Chewing gum can produce saliva and help remove food particles as well as prevent you from experiencing dry mouth. Bacteria are also killed when more fresh saliva is produced.
- Con: It Can Cause Tooth Decay - If you are frequently chewing on sugary gum varieties, then you may actually be increasing the likelihood that you will develop cavities. That is because sugar-containing gums aid in tooth decay. Also, if you already have fillings, you may accidentally loosen or pull out a filling while chewing.
- Pro: Gum Chewing Reduces Acid and Plaque - If your gum is sweetened with 100 percent xylitol, you can reduce dental plaque. Also, it helps reduce the amount of acid in your mouth, which erodes tooth enamel. If you suffer from heartburn, chewing gum may relieve it for up to three hours when you chew it for at least 30 minutes.
- Con: It Could Attract You to More Junk Food - Some experts suggest that chewing gum increases food cravings and can promote unhealthy eating. It also may reduce your motivation to eat at all unless it is something overly sugary or extremely salty.
- Pro: It May be Therapeutic - For some, chewing gum is therapeutic. It can calm them when they are nervous, angry or even hungry.
Your local dentist in Edmonton will most likely tell you that chewing gum has its good and bad side. By chewing in moderation, you may not have much to worry about. That being said, you should still seek regular examinations and have your teeth cleaned at least twice a year to make sure you are not eroding enamel or causing cavities with your gum-chewing habit.
Azarko Dental Group’s Edmonton dental clinics are accepting new patients. Come in today for your annual examination and cleaning. Schedule your appointment using our convenient online booking program or call one of two Edmonton locations near you.