According to a 2016 survey by the U.S. Census and Simmons National Consumer Survey (SNCS), a mind-boggling 175.21 million Americans chewed gum (bubble or chewing) in 2016. In fact, an estimated 374 trillion sticks of chewing gum were made last year, weighing a total of 100,000 tons! With all that gum being produced, it’s easy to make the wrong choice when choosing a chewing gum. If you’re a gum chewer but want to make sure you’re taking care of your teeth while you chew, check out these tips.
Chewing Gum Versus Bubble Gum
The difference between chewing gum and bubble gum is in the ingredients. Bubble gum and chewing gum have different bases. In bubble gum, the base is rubbery and made of a combination of starches and polymers that are engineered to make big bubbles.
On the other hand, chewing-gum base is made of a natural product called chicle, which comes from trees traditionally grown in Central and South America. You can try to make bubbles with chicle-based gums, but you won't get great results.
Despite their differences, neither gum is inherently better or worse for your teeth. What matters most is the sugar content of the gum you choose to chew. Sugarless gum of any kind - chewing or bubble - is better for your teeth than sugar-sweetened gum.
In fact, sugarless gum is not only better for your teeth, but it can also improve your teeth! That’s because chewing sugarless gum protects your teeth while you chew by increasing saliva production. The extra saliva neutralizes the acids produced by the cavity-causing bacteria in your mouth. In fact, chewing sugarless gum for 20 minutes following a meal can help prevent tooth decay.
What About Whitening Gum?
You may have seen gum at the checkout lane that claims to whiten your teeth as you chew - but don’t pop a stick in your mouth and expect an instantly gleaming smile. According to the label, if you want to reap the whitening benefits of this chewing gum, you’ll need to chew one piece of gum for 12 minutes a day, five times a day. If you chew a lot of sugarless gum already, this may seem like no big deal to you. But those who aren’t big gum chewers probably won’t see any whitening results from gum.
What Are the Best Brands?
There is no brand of gum that is better than others for your teeth; it’s a matter of personal preference. As long as your gum is sugar-free, feel free to chew what you like. However, if you do want to be sure you’re getting the very best gum possible, aim for a brand that contains a sugar substitute called xylitol, which not only prevents bacteria from adhering to your teeth, but also neutralizes plaque acid, prevents cavities and helps maintain a neutral pH balance in the mouth.
Got a question about your gum or about your oral health? Give Dr. Hill’s office a call at 469-640-9550.