In addition to your general health and well-being, you should take care of your dental health. It has been shown that poor oral hygiene may lead to tooth decay and gum diseases, and it has been associated with cardiovascular disease and cancer. A lifetime commitment is required to keep your teeth and gums in good condition. You'll be able to prevent expensive dental treatments and long-term health problems if you develop good oral hygiene practices early on.
Gum chewing goes back hundreds of years. The broad variety of advantages it provided made this a popular activity for people all over the world. To keep their teeth clean and preserve fresh breath, the ancient Greeks chewed tree resin. For example, in the United States, chewing gum is used as a stress reliever or to reduce food cravings. Kids may also benefit from chewing gum containing Xylitol. In the same way, eating nicotine gum may help you stop smoking.
Gum That Contains Sugar
Chewing gum typically contains sucrose, a disaccharide. Oral bacteria have the ability to break down sucrose and other fermentable carbs into energy. Dental biofilm and acid produced by these bacteria (especially S. mutans and Lactobacillus species) may contribute to enamel destruction and dental caries. A sugar-containing gum's potential cariogenicity relies on its physical consistency, how often it is chewed, oral retention period, and when it is consumed (for instance, chewing sugar-containing gum before eating foods that reduce acid production will be less cariogenic than the reverse).
Chewing Gum Without Sugar
Chewing gum may be branded sugar-free as long as it contains less than 0.5 grams of sugar per serving. Acesulfame K, Neotam, Aspartame, Sucralose, Saccharin, and Stevia are high-intensity sweeteners used to sweeten gum instead of sugar. Xylitol, isomalt, erythritol, and maltitol are all sugar alcohols that may be used to sweeten gum. Since cariogenic plaque bacteria do not metabolize these sweeteners, they are non-cariogenic, as opposed to sugars and other sweeteners. However, despite the fact that these sweeteners have fewer calories than sugar, the FDA considers aspartame and all of the sugar alcohols listed above to be nutritive sweeteners since they include more than 2 percent of the calories in an equal quantity of sugar.
The pH of plaque may be lowered by chewing gum if it includes acids for taste (e.g., citric acid) or by bacteria-producing acids if the gum comprises carbohydrates. For enamel disintegration, pH of 5.5 is the crucial threshold. An enamel demineralization and caries lesion may develop when the pH of plaque falls below this threshold point. If the pH of the gum is less than 5.5, it may cause enamel erosion.
Flow of Saliva
On average, a healthy person's unstimulated salivary flow rate is between 0.3 and 0.4 mL/min. Stimulating saliva flow is simple with chewing, no matter whether it’s unflavored, unsweetened, chewing gum base, or anything else. In both cases, salivary flow is boosted by 10-12 times the usual rate. It has been shown that flavors may also stimulate salivary glands. Gum that is both sweet and flavored results in a noticeably higher flow rate of saliva than does ordinary, unflavored gum.
Via a variety of processes, a stimulated saliva flow protects the teeth against dental erosion. Food and drink acids that might otherwise erode teeth's enamel are buffered by saliva, and swallowing extra saliva produced by stimulation removes the acid from the teeth's surface. In contrast to unstimulated saliva, stimulated saliva contains greater amounts of total protein, chloride, total calcium, salt, and bicarbonate, and therefore possess a better buffering capacity. It also adds proteins to tooth surfaces, producing an enamel pellicle that defends against erosion of dental surfaces.
Slurring also helps to remove fermentable carbohydrates from the mouth before they can be metabolized by the bacteria in dental plaque. This process, together with the defense against tooth erosion described above, may explain why clinical studies have shown a reduced incidence of caries in individuals who consumed sugar-free gum for 20 minutes following meals.
Chewing Gum Has Other Effects
Through the increased secretion and swallowing that occurs while chewing gum, it may help in acid clearance in the esophagus. Those who suffer from laryngopharyngeal or gastroesophageal reflux may benefit from chewing gum to decrease symptoms. Those with residual secretory capability may also benefit from chewing sugar-free gum to alleviate symptoms of dry mouth. Chewing sugar-free chewing gum reduced subjective sensations of dry mouth in line with the other saliva boosters and replacements, but it did not provide a long-term impact on salivary secretion, according to a comprehensive study. As far as this is concerned, there is no proof that one kind of gum is better than another.
Disadvantages of Chewing Gums
Although chewing gum offers a number of advantages, it also has some drawbacks. Take a glance at some of the devastating consequences of gum.
Dental health issues such as cavities, tooth decay, and gum disease may be caused by chewing sugared gums on a consistent basis. If you don't brush right away after chewing gum, the sugar covers your teeth and slowly erodes the enamel.
Disorders of the Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ)
Particularly if you chew gum on one side of your mouth more than the other, gum-chewing may lead to jaw muscle imbalance or TMJ. Constant muscular usage leads to strained ligaments and crippling discomfort. They may also suffer from headaches or ear pain.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
Cramping, stomach discomfort, and irregular bowel movements are all symptoms of IBS. Your body expels extra air while you're sucking gum. Bloating and discomfort in the abdomen are symptoms of IBS. Mannitol and Sorbitol, two artificial sweeteners present in gum, have been linked to diarrhea.