Several dental health studies suggest that gum-chewing might not be the dental nightmare that many of us believe it to be. In fact, one kind of gum may even protect your child’s teeth against tooth decay and cavities.
That’s right: Simply by chewing sugar-free gum for twenty minutes after a meal, your child might actually be helping to protect their teeth from decay and the cavities that can cause serious pain and future damage.
How does dentistry chewing gum help protect your child’s oral health? Read on to learn more.
Chewing gum can help protect your mouth simply by triggering the increased production and flow of saliva, which helps prevent cavities in two ways. First, the increase in saliva helps to clean away left-behind food particles, in much the same way that a toothbrush does.
Second, human saliva contains essential minerals such as calcium and phosphate. These important substances actually work to make your tooth enamel stronger. And when the protective coating of your dental enamel is strengthened, tooth decay doesn’t get the foothold it needs to create cavities.
The problem is that most commercially available chewing gums contain sugar or other sweeteners, which work to increase the risk of decay and cavities. That’s especially true when gum chewing is a habit.
The solution is sugar-free gum, which tastes just as good as the sugar-laden kind but doesn’t contain any of those cavity-causing sweeteners. In fact, the sweeteners in your child’s sugar-free gum actually deter the growth of the bacteria produced in your mouth which produce the acid that causes cavities.
One important tip is to make sure your child knows not to swallow any gum, assuming you allow them to have it. Many experts and dentists suggest withholding any kind of gum from children until they’re at least four years of age. Children this age or older can more easily resist swallowing the gum, no matter how good it tastes.
Parents work so hard to keep their children’s teeth strong, healthy, and clean. Good dental habits are so important to achieving that goal and thus preventing cavities in your kid’s teeth. Plus, there are additional steps you can take to help ensure those teeth stay healthy and cavity-free.
First, show your child how to floss and brush their teeth each and every day. Use fun sticker charts or other tools to help reinforce those habits. Consistency is key!
Second, make sure your child has regular check-ups and professional cleanings with a dentist who’s experienced in caring for and interacting with kids. A strong relationship with your child’s dentist helps create a powerful team to ensure your child’s continued good oral health.
Finally, teach your child to chew sugar-free gum for approximately 20 minutes after meals when they can’t brush their teeth immediately. It’s a great way to help your child maintain strong and healthy teeth when brushing isn’t feasible. Just make sure you remind your children that gum-chewing is no replacement for proper flossing and brushing.
In addition to chewing sugar-free gum and exercising consistent dental hygiene habits, make sure your child gets access to the quality dental care they deserve. Take advantage of the skills, expertise and compassion in our Kool Smiles dental partners. Look for a dentist that’s near you and call to make an appointment today.