4 Reasons to Avoid Chewing Gum

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Despite some health benefits of chewing gum, it is still not doing your teeth any good. Chewing gum is often marketed as a healthy alternative to smoking or other bad habits. That is one of the good sides of chewing gum; however, just because chewing sugar-filled gum is better than some other habits doesn’t mean there are no downsides.

If you’re still looking for reasons to quit chewing sugary gum, here are four.

Young woman blowing a bubble out of chewing gum.

1. Bacteria Growth

When you chew gum, you leave behind small amounts of sugar, and bacteria use these sugars to reproduce. The gum itself isn’t especially important, but the sugar left behind is. The bacteria digest the sugar in the gum, producing acids that eat away at tooth enamel. 

This can cause your teeth to rot, your gums to recede, and your teeth to loosen and maybe even fall out.

2. Wears Out Enamel

Chewing gum for hours on end can cause damage to your teeth and gums. After constant chewing, there can be a buildup of acid that can weaken your enamel, leading to chipping and cracking in the long run.

Not only does the acid in the gum wear down your tooth enamel, but it also erodes the protective films on your teeth that protect them from cavity-inducing sugar molecules.

3. Damage to Dental Work

When you chew gum, the jaw action creates pressure as much as five times more than normal. This can cause damage to dental work, including fillings and crowns. If you’re wearing dentures, chewing gum could prompt them to come loose. If you’re wearing braces, chewing gum can cause brackets to loosen or even fall out.

4. Jaw Fatigue

When you chew gum, your jaw muscles work overtime. When chewing gum is combined with bruxism (teeth grinding and clenching), the constant grinding and clenching can lead to muscle fatigue and pain in the TMJ (temporomandibular joint disorder).

What Is Chewing Gum Made Of?

Although recipes might vary among brands, all chewing gum has the following basic ingredients:

  • Resin
  • Fillers
  • Softeners
  • Sweeteners
  • Flavorings
  • Preservatives

So, Which Gum Options Do I Have?

While it’s true that eating hard foods, such as hard candy or ice, can damage teeth, chewing sugarless gum has the opposite effect. 

Sugar-free gum helps clean food particles from between teeth. Chewing this type of gum also stimulates the production of saliva, which washes away bacteria that cause tooth decay and gum disease.

Essentially, you don’t have to kick your gum habit; you just need to be mindful of the type of gum you choose.

How Can I Keep My Teeth Healthy?

You know that brushing your teeth and flossing every day is the best way to keep your teeth and gums healthy, but it’s not always obvious what else you can do. There are plenty of measures that can be taken to make sure your teeth stay healthy and improve their condition. These include:

  • Seeing a dentist regularly
  • Brushing regularly but not aggressively
  • Using fluoride
  • Flossing once a day
  • Staying hydrated
  • Limiting sugary food and starches
  • Trying sugarless mints

Looking for General Dentistry Services in San Diego?

At La Jolla Cosmetic Dentistry & Orthodontics, we’re committed to providing quality general dentistry services to families throughout San Diego. We provide general and cosmetic dentistry services, including dental implants, dental veneers, crowns, and bridges.

If you’re looking for general dentistry services in San Diego, fill out our online form to schedule your appointment.