Chewing gum has been controversial in dentistry for a long time. Chewing gum stimulates saliva flow. Since saliva is the mouth’s primary defense against the acids made by the cavity causing bacteria, it helps prevent cavities. HOWEVER, chewing sugary gum also feeds and promotes the growth of the cavity causing germs. The net result is that those who chew sugared gums will actually increase cavities.
If you chew sugar free gum (sweetened with sorbitol, manitol) you will not feed those bacteria and you will improve saliva flow to neutralize bacterial acids. These gums do not promote cavities; however the increased saliva flow is not enough to make a measurable reduction in cavities either.
However, statistics are clear that Xylitol, one of the non-sugar sweeteners, will inhibit the primary bacteria involved in cavities and can reduce your cavity experience! If you chew several sticks of gum daily, by using a Xylitol gum you will continue to stimulate saliva flow (good for oral health) and you will inhibit and reduce the bacteria that cause cavities (good for dental health).
Note the gum should have Xylitol listed as the first ingredient and it is best if it has 1 gram or more of Xylitol. Chew 4 or more pieces of gum daily. Do you pop mints during the day? You can get the same benefits and stop destroying your teeth by choosing a Xylitol mint. These gums and mints are available in health food stores and on line. Just Google “Xylitol” to find all the research and retail information you want. Original research started in Norway over 40 years ago and has been confirmed in multiple studies worldwide since.
Pop mints or chew your way to improved dental health.
Local health food stores (Sunrise in Auburn, BriarPatch in Grass Valley) have several options. Occasionally you will find them in regular supermarkets, but most of the gums with xylitol on regular store shelves have token ineffective amounts of the xylitol.
A Google search for "Xylitol" will also provide options to order gum and mints online.