The American Dental Association has confirmed that chewing sugar-free gum in between meals and after snacks is extremely beneficial to oral health. The act of chewing itself stimulates the flow of saliva which helps wash away leftover food particles.
All gums with the ADA Seal are sweetened by non-cavity causing sweeteners such as aspartame, xylitol, sorbitol or mannitol. Of course, chewing sugar-containing gum increases saliva flow too, but it also contains sugar which is used by plaque bacteria to produce decay-causing acids.
One of these non-cavity causing sweeteners shines brighter than the rest, xylitol. Sugar-free gum sweetened with xylitol has the added benefit of inhibiting the growth of Streptococcus mutans, one of the oral bacteria that cause cavities. In the presence of xylitol, the bacteria lose the ability to adhere to the tooth, stunting the cavity-causing process. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) recognizes that xylitol, therefore, helps prevent cavities. The AAPD also notes that there is some evidence that the actual chewing of this type of gum may help improve its cavity-reducing effect.
Xylitol is just about as sweet as sugar and is found in fruits, vegetables, and plant fibers. The sweetest part about xylitol is its health benefits. For more than 40 years, clinical research has proven xylitol helps improve oral health. It also provides anti-aging properties, and significantly boosts oral and upper respiratory health.
Keep in mind that gum is not an alternative to proper oral hygiene and dental visits.
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