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What are the dental benefits of chewing gum, if any?

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White GumXylitol-sweetened chewing gum (supplemented by normal oral hygiene care) was shown to reduce the amount of dental decay by 70% in children in comparison to a population of children who did not chew the gum.

The Xylitol effect:

  • Xylitol has a unique chemical structure that goes unrecognized by bacteria in the oral cavity
  • Xylitol is not fermented and therefore, there is no resulting acid production or attack on the teeth
  • Chewing gum sweetened with xylitol helps to stimulate saliva production and flow to help remineralize early caries
  • Inhibits mutans growth and with continued use, it can decrease the numbers of the bacteria in plaque
  • Increases the ratio of soluble to insoluble polysaccharides in the oral cavity
  • Complementary action to fluoride

Source: Dental Secrets, Elsevier, 2015

6 Comments

  1. Simon @ AuthorityDental October 29, 2015

    But was the 70% reduction an actual direct result of chewing the gum? Did they account for any other factors? It looks promising, but I’m always skeptical when they do studies like this and conclude “X causes Y” when it could merely be “X is correlated with Y”.

    Reply
  2. JCDA Oasis October 30, 2015

    Hello Simon,

    Here is the link to the full-text article: http://jdr.sagepub.com/content/79/11/1885.full.pdf+html

    Here is an excerpt of the study Findings:

    “The result that, regardless of the treatment group, the children who were not colonized by MS at the age of 2 years showed less caries at all annual examinations than the children colonized with MS is in good agreement with results of earlier studies: if no early MS colonization, then less decay (Alaluusua and Renkonen, 1983; Kohler and Andreen, 1994). Mothers’ habitual xylitol consumption during the tooth eruption of their children successfully reduced the mother-child transmission of MS (Soderling et al., 2000), which further resulted in reduced dental decay in their children’s primary dentition.”

    CDA Oasis Team

    Reply
  3. Dr. Nestor Shapka November 3, 2015

    Curious that if Xylitol is the alternative sweetener that offers the great benefits of caries reduction, why are most gums made with aspartame and or saccharin and not xylitol?

    Reply
    1. Stacey November 3, 2015

      @ Dr. Nestor Shapka: Don’t forget sucralose aka Splenda!! All mainstream chewing gum like those brands found at every Walmart, Target, etc it’s the big money brands we see everywhere–and exactly why I don’t buy them. believe saccharin, aspartame and sucralose aka Splenda are bad news and should be banned. These sweeteners are hundreds times sweeter than regular sugar. Over a length of time I do not believe anything good can come from ingesting or using products that contain these artificial sweeteners. Check this article: http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2014/12/23/artificial-sweeteners-confuse-body.aspx

    2. Dr. J. Lanoway November 3, 2015

      That’s easy: it’s because xylitol can cause flatulence, bloating and diarrhea.

  4. Dr Chris Cottle November 3, 2015

    I have found it useful to suggest patients chew sugar free gum about three days after third molar extraction involving a flap. There is often reduced function of the muscle involved in the area of the flap and there is the obvious swelling. Typically the body always heals better in light function. The sub-conscious chewing seems to happen even when the patient indicates their mouth is sore and they have limited ability to open. No study to prove the point; however, the swelling seems to reduce faster as does the return to normal function …. result – happier patient or at least one that is comfortable sooner. Maybe a good project for some OMFS students.

    Reply

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