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If you’re conducting a Google search for a children’s dentist near me, you probably already understand the importance of ensuring every child’s oral health continues to develop properly. For the majority of kids, enjoying a healthy, attractive smile requires staying committed to practicing quality oral hygiene at home and eating a balanced diet.
Daily brushing and flossing help to eliminate the buildup of harmful oral bacteria that contributes to the development of tooth decay and gum disease. Eating a balanced diet cuts down on excess sugar, a primary contributing factor to cavities and dental disease.
Now, a new study may have identified a another tool parents have at their disposal to help their kids avoid tooth decay – chewing sugar free gum.
Chewing sugar-free gum can help to supplement oral hygiene regimens like brushing twice a day and flossing daily, as chewing gum produces a similar effect to those important daily habits. However, unlike brushing and flossing, chewing gum doesn’t require parental assistance or supervision.
Based on the data collected in the study, researchers believe that chewing sugar-free gum should now be considered an effective method for controlling the development of cavities in kids.
The results of the study were recently published in the Journal of Dental Research Clinical & Translational Research.
An Important Piece
In recent years, chewing sugar-free gum has started to emerge as a potentially effective strategy for helping to improve preventative dental routines. Researchers have found that chewing gum without sugar increases saliva flow in the mouth. Saliva works as the body’s natural defense barrier against harmful oral bacteria, while also helping to remineralize tooth enamel. Additionally, most brands of sugar-free gum contain antibacterial ingredients like xylitol and sorbitol.
In their review, researchers examined studies published between 1946 and 2018. They successfully identified 12 studies that explored the impact chewing gum had on oral health, specifically tooth decay among adults and kids.
Most of the kids involved in the examined research were between the ages of 4 to 14.
After examining the data, researchers determined that chewing sugar-free gum successfully reduced a child’s risk for developing cavities by 28 percent.
Additionally, no adverse effects were reported in any of the reviewed studies. However, the examined research did contain a few shortcomings, as the sample examined only contained a limited number of children studied.
Regardless of the small sample size, researchers feel confident in recommending the use of sugar-free gum as another preventative measure for helping to protect kids’ long-term oral health.
Chewing Gum a Secret Toothbrush?
Plaque ranks as the biggest threat our teeth face. A sticky biofilm, plaque clings to the surface of our teeth and uses the sugars we consume to produce harmful acids that slowly erode away at our enamel, the strong outer layer that protects the delicate interior.
Chewing gum works to stimulate the mouth into producing additional saliva. Saliva actually helps to neutralize plaque acids, making it one of the body’s best weapons against tooth decay. When combined with a chewing motion, saliva washes plaque away from the surface of our teeth, preventing the harmful bacteria from causing damage to our enamel.
Add in the antibacterial substances commonly used as sugar substitutes in these types of gums and you get an incredibly effective option for eliminating plaque from the mouth.
The science behind chewing gum as a means of reducing an individual’s risk for cavities would also make the habit an acceptable alternative for adults as well. Based on the available data, researchers were unable to say whether adults could also reduce their risk for cavities and decay simply because the studies they reviewed were not focused on adult patients. But the next time you search for a children’s dentist near me, keep in mind just how effective chewing gum could be at protecting your kids’ oral health.