Studies have shown that chewing gum for 20 minutes after eating can help prevent cavities! Let’s talk about how this works. It is not a substitute for brushing and flossing, however, chewing gum can help in surprising ways!
Chewing on sugar-free gum activates your body’s first natural defense against cavities: saliva. Saliva removes food particles and debris from teeth and neutralizes acids present in your mouth. To understand why this is helpful, let’s analyze the basics of how cavities form.
There are bacteria that live in your mouth. They form a sticky film called plaque, that coats your teeth and gums. The bacteria in the plaque feed on the sugars present in leftover food particles. The bacteria then create acid, which eats away at the hard outer layer of your teeth. To help combat this cycle, your body creates saliva. Saliva cleans the plaque away from teeth, cleans the food away from plaque and teeth, washes the acids away, and fortifies the enamel itself.
So why not just brush right after eating? When you eat, the acids from the food or drinks soften your enamel and make it more prone to damage from abrasion. Brushing your teeth is inherently abrasive, and should be avoided until the acids are neutralized through sufficient saliva production.
For more information, call our office in Houston, Texas, at 713-789-1225. Dr. Steven Wolfson and our team are here to help!