Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Happy National Chewing Gum Day, September 30, 2015

Have a chew! (photo: Y. Mikalopas)
Chew on this….

It took a little web surfing to verify that this is even actually a “national day” and then I figured, even if it's not, why not write about the benefits, and potential detriments, of chewing gum.

1- Hold the sugar

Benefits gained by chewing gum are with “SUGARFREE” or “SUGARLESS” gum only.  These gums contain sugar substitutes such as sorbitol or xylitol (which is becoming very popular these days and being added to lots of “diet” products.) Sugar contributes to the creation of cavities so it is NOT a good idea to chew gum that contains sugar. Ever. Sorry.

Potential detriment: Sugar substitutes can cause stomach upset, so go easy with the amount of gum you chew. If you are sensitive to these types of products, you might want to skip it.

2– Have a chew after meals

According to the American Dental Association website (ada.org), chewing gum for twenty minutes after a meal stimulates saliva.  The more saliva you have, the better for your mouth. Saliva helps to wash away the sugars that the plaque bacteria in your mouth need to live and grow and helps to return your mouth to normal pH levels. Saliva also contains potassium and calcium, which along with fluoride, helps to re-mineralize your teeth.

Caveat: If you have jaw problems or “TMJ” chewing for twenty minutes might not be for you. If you have braces, loose fillings, bridgework or dentures, also not for you. And if you have loose fillings or bridgework, please get yourself to the dentist.

3- Stop smoking and lose weight!

The Mayo Clinic (mayoclinic.org) suggests that chewing gum can assist with smoking cessation as well as forestall the urge to eat, decreasing your total intake of calories. It’s a win-win and there is research that backs up these assertions.

I don’t see any negatives here. I’d rather see people chewing gum like cows than smoking.

4 – Four-Step Program

Dental hygienists have proposed a four-step process for a healthy mouth: Floss, Brush, Rinse, and…you guessed it – Chew. (Adha.org)

Please note that chewing gum does not allow one to skip the brushing or the flossing. Ever. Sorry.

5- Smarty pants

There have been multiple studies which seem to indicate that chewing gum may increase memory and improve test performance.

Unfortunately, chewing gum in school – kind of frowned upon.  Too many wads wind up stuck under the desk, in carpet, or in hair. But if you’re studying at home, it can’t hurt.

If you’d like to see a list of sugar-free chewing gums that get the stamp of approval from the American Dental Association – yes, the “four out of five dentists” endorsement is a real thing – visit this page on their website:

Finally: Brush, floss, rinse and chew to get those teeth clean and shiny in preparation for World Smile Day, this Friday, October 2, 2015.