Sugar-Free Gum and Oral Health: How Much Gum Should You Chew?
Chewing on sugar-free gum can be a useful way of keeping your teeth and gums clean and healthy between your morning and evening brushing sessions. Regular chewing can also help prevent dental problems such as decay and gum disease by helping your mouth counter the negative effects of plaque, acid and sugar. To get the best effects from gum, you may want to establish a daily chewing routine.
What Are Best Times to Chew Sugar-Free Gum?
It's a good idea to chew sugar-free gum after meals. Gum increases your production of saliva, which helps wash out your mouth and manage the effects that the food you've eaten may have on your teeth.
For example, when you've finished eating, your mouth has to deal with the acids that may have come into it through the food and drinks you've had; it can take your mouth a while to neutralise these acid attacks. Chewing on a sugar-free gum helps reduce the time that acid poses a problem, especially if you chew a gum that contains the natural sweetener xylitol, which combats acids by increasing the alkalinity in your mouth.
If you snack between meals or drink fizzy sodas or juices, it's also useful to chew on some gum afterwards. Fizzy drinks introduce acids into your mouth that may erode your tooth enamel. Chewing a piece of gum after a fizzy drink may help combat the effects of these acids, preventing them from doing as much damage to your teeth.
How Long Should You Chew a Piece of Gum?
Chewing gum after meals and snacks works best if you chew for a while. This gets your salivary juices working effectively, giving you the best possible protection. Typically, you're advised to chew for around twenty minutes at a time. Chewing for less time than this may still be beneficial but this timing may give you the best results.
How Much Gum Should You Chew a Day?
Sugar-free gums contain sweeteners rather than sugars. While chewing gum can be useful for your teeth, these sweeteners may have some side-effects if you chew too much gum each day. Typically, if you chew too much sugar-free gum, you may get an upset stomach. Therefore, it's important to make sure that you don't use too much gum each day.
It's worth remembering that you don't need to chew that much gum to see dental benefits. For example, if you chew a xylitol gum, the recommended daily dose to protect teeth is between 6-10g of gum a day. In this instance, you're unlikely to experience stomach problems unless you hit the high dosage rates of 45g for kids and 100g for adults each day. If you simply use gum after meals and for the occasional snack, you shouldn't have any problems; however, if you're a habitual gum chewer, you may need to reduce your intake if you get stomach upsets.
Talk to your dentist for more tips on maintaining good oral health.