When you’ve got to study, you have to focus, and when you need a little help drowning out those distractions you likely pop a piece of minty, refreshing gum into your mouth. It’s a popular habit in the U.S., so popular in fact, that the U.S. Census Bureau estimates that the average American consumes nearly 1.8 pounds of it per year. If you’ve never paused to wonder if chewing gum is good or bad for your teeth, we can hardly fault you. Sometimes you can get overzealous and chomp on the inside of your mouth or cause squeaking sounds by accidentally grinding your molars, so it’s normal to wonder if it’s a healthy habit. As your resident Missoula dentist, we figured it was Bitterroot’s duty to explore the stigma surrounding that piece of chewing gum you might rely on when you’re stressed at work or school.

It’s an Age-Old Practice

While dental care certainly hasn’t been around for literal ages, gum has. In fact, chewing gum has been a passive-mind past time since ancient times. Though, their breath was rarely minty fresh, it was derived from tree saps. The regular usage of this technique actually cleans your teeth, which might be why some folks in ancient eras managed to hang onto their teeth without ever brushing them.

It All Depends On The Kind

Obviously, the kind of gum people in the 1700s chewed probably didn’t have any added sugar cane or cornflower syrup. It was all sugar-free, which leads us to our next point: sugary gum is not your friend. Looking at it practically, the sugar in your gum isn’t just chewed and swallowed it gets to linger until you’re done with that piece of gum and then likely for much longer afterward. That doesn’t exactly facilitate cleaning your teeth, but it does help cavities form. While we understand that you like our very charming office staff, you don’t need to create problems so you can have a reason to come see us.

If you’d rather skip the cavities, there’s always sugar-free gum which is rocking a sweetener called Xylitol. This sweetening compound occurs naturally and what’s even better is it fights bacteria growth and is actually cleaning teeth as you chew.

Added Perks

While scraping your molars together may seem like a counter-intuitive fashion to clean your teeth, it’s not so bad for your enamel. Tooth enamel is the hardest substance in your body and chewing the right gum is the equivalent to adding adamantium to Wolverine: It gets so much stronger. It’s not all contributed to xylitol, it’s actually a byproduct of it that’s called Recaldent™ that remineralizes your teeth and stops tooth decay in its tracks. While it might not be in all of your favorite flavors, many gum packages list Recaldent as an ingredient now and we encourage you to pick out a couple of packages with the compound when you’re next shopping for sugar-free gum.

Contact Your Missoula Dentist

If you’re in need of a reliable and affordable dentist in Missoula, turn to Bitterroot dental. We’re dedicated to helping you keep your oral health in check. Schedule your appointment today.