From practicing blowing bubbles to experimenting with new flavors and swapping pieces with friends, kids can get endless amusement out of chewing gum. Without appropriate guidance, however, this habit can have negative effects on your little one’s teeth. Here, the children’s dentists at Alaska Dentistry for Kids in Anchorage provide their expert insight into how chewing gum can impact teeth.
Not all gum is created equal. Sugar-sweetened gum can contribute to the buildup of bacteria-laden plaque, encouraging cavities and eroding the protective enamel of teeth. This can prove especially harmful if kids keep a piece of gum lodged in their mouth, pressed against teeth and gums. It’s a prime breeding ground for destructive germs to set up camp and multiply.
However, sugar-free gum can promote healthy teeth, thanks to the increased saliva flow spurred by chewing. A two-year study of sugarless chewing gum use among kids in Europe showed those who chewed sugarless gum had a reduction in dental cavities of nearly 40% compared to the control group of kids who didn’t chew any. This is likely because saliva keeps the mouth clean and neutralizes acids that cause tooth decay.
This doesn’t mean kids should be chomping on gum all day long, of course. In accordance with the study described above, your children’s dentist may recommend chewing a stick of sugar-free gum for twenty minutes after each meal. This is especially beneficial if there’s no possibility of cleaning with a toothbrush.
Before making any changes to your kid’s dental care habits, it’s best to touch base with a children’s dentist. For assistance in Anchorage, look to Alaska Dentistry for Kids. This team of compassionate professionals is known for their fun and friendly service, which puts young patients at ease. You can find out more about their services online. To request an appointment, call (907) 274-2525.