It goes without saying that mastication, or chewing, is an absolute necessity of normal living. As we age, eating becomes one of the only pleasures that most of us can enjoy in almost any setting. All one has to do is to take a look at the plethora of fine public eating establishments in the area to understand how important comfortable mastication is to our society.
Chewing gum has been around for many years, and the act of chewing gum has been criticized by teachers, scolded by parents, and encouraged by dentists. YES! Chewing sugarless gum can reduce the incidence of tooth decay. The process of chewing stimulates production of saliva, which is necessary for digestion and also serves as a buffer to neutralize the pH of our mouths. Since most food contains sugar, which stimulates the production of lactic acid from normal bacteria in our mouths, saliva plays a vital role in cavity prevention. Chewing sugarless gum immediately following eating and continuing for twenty minutes has been proven to aid in the pH neutralization process.
Gum that contains sugar, however, has exactly the opposite effect. It increases the incidence of tooth decay because it allows sugar to be in the mouth for prolonged periods of time, feeding the germs that cause tooth decay. Chewing gum of any kind can also be a problem in people who suffer from muscular headaches or TMJ symptoms of any kind because it stresses the jaw joints in chewing muscles. If you’re experiencing these symptoms, make sure to schedule an appointment at our office in Sidney or by using our online form to contact our office.
For more information on chewing gum related to dentistry, visit Delta Dental.