Is eating sugar-free gum good for your teeth?

Eating gum right after eating stimulates salivation and automatically neutralizes the acid pH caused by food.

The resource of chewing sugar-free gum after eating if you cannot brush your teeth is one of the many benefits attributed to this product. Indeed, a study of King’s College School of Dentistry, Oral and Craniofacial Sciences from London showed that people who usually chew sugar-free gum develop 28% fewer cavities.

But to what extent does chewing gum replace brushing your teeth, how does it affect oral health, does it really protect against cavities, does it really eliminate bad breath, has- are there any negative effects? Dr. Conchita Currull, recognized dental specialist and founder of the clinic that bears her name, clarifies our doubts.

What happens in your mouth when you chew sugar-free gum?

The first advantage is that while you are doing it, you do not chew gum or candy and it’s good for the teeth. Nevertheless, “It’s not that the xylitol it contains protects you from cavities, but it probably prevents you from taking other sugary products that cause it”says Dr. Conchita Curull. That said, it is true that he has other positive actions in your oral health:

  • Stimulates salivation. The simple act of chewing gum increases saliva secretion. And this is very beneficial right after eating, especially if the food has been heavy or with sugars, because the acids generated reduce the pH of the mouth and attack the surface layer of the enamel. But if you put sugarless gum in your mouth, you start secreting saliva, and it automatically neutralizes this acidic pH. In fact, after a hearty meal, it is It is better to chew xylitol gum right away and leave for half an hour to brush your teeth. (if you do this right after eating, you will rub the acid on the teeth with the brush and further damage the enamel).
  • Has some antibacterial action. In no case can xylitol be compared to an antibiotic, insists the dentist, but Yes, it can help stop bacteria activity. that cause cavities. To obtain this antibacterial effect, explains the doctor, the chewing gum must contain at least 5g of xylitol.

Can chewing sugar-free gum replace brushing your teeth?

Although chewing sugar-free gum right after eating helps neutralize enamel-damaging acids by stimulating salivation, in no case does this have the effect of brushing your teeth. “It can be a resource if you can’t brush your teeth after a meal if you’re away from home, but it will never have the action of brushing your teeth”notes the doctor.

And if there is a brushing that In no case can it be replaced by a chewing gum with xylitol, that is, that of the night. “At night the mouth remains at rest, we don’t speak, we don’t swallow, we don’t produce saliva… and if we don’t brush our teeth well before sleeping the action of bacteria can be devastating and bacterial plaque forms which attacks the teeth and gums”Curul precise.

Does sugar-free gum fight or mask bad breath?

Sugar-free gum masks bad breath, just like mints, but they don’t take it away. “When the effect of xylitol wears off, bad breath will return to the mouth”said the dentist.

90% of the causes of halitosis are oral: It can be caused by a cavity or a gum problem such as gingivitis or periodontitis. Obviously, xylitol will not solve these problems.”

Is eating a lot of sugar-free chewing gum bad?

Constantly chewing gum can damage the temporomandibular joint (between the temporal bone and the mandible). This happens, the doctor tells us, in people who have quit smoking and they constantly chew gum, which can cause tension and pain in the jaw, ear area, and even the neck.

In fact, we consider that chewing gum for more than 20 minutes a day You can already overload this joint and wear out the teeth.

Therefore, in those people who suffer from bruxism, chewing gum is not recommended because their teeth and temporomandibular joint are already more worn. In addition, an excess of xylitol (40 g per day) has laxative effects.

Is sugar-free gum good for dry mouth?

Saliva neutralizes acids that damage teeth and performs a sweeping or cleaning effect, so people who suffer from dry mouth (xerostomia) chew sugar-free gum well to stimulate its production.

Dry mouth is more common in menopause due to decreased estrogen, if medication is taken antidepressants and when the treatments are carried out chemotherapy.

In these cases, it is recommended to drink water frequently and, at specific times of dry mouth, to chew xylitol gum or, even better, to suck on sugar free lemon candies because lemon stimulates salivation.


  • A systematic review and meta-analysis of the role of sugar-free chewing gum in dental caries. Newton JT. and other authors. Journal of Dental Research-Clinical & Translational Research.


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