- June 17, 2015
Hello again from Holly Dental Care! It’s time for another blog from our office in Holly, MI. It is no secret that your oral health is the linchpin to a healthy lifestyle. Almost everything we put in our bodies passes through our teeth and gums first. That means your oral health has a great influence on your total health, but it also means your teeth and gums get a lot of use and see many of the negatives effects of the choices we make. This is why a healthy oral hygiene routine is so important. It is up to you to maintain the health of your teeth and gums, so that the choices you make don’t ruin your smile.
You probably don’t need to be reminded that brushing and flossing twice a day is the foundation of strong oral health, and it is essential for anyone who wants to keep their natural teeth as long as they possibly can. There is more to oral hygiene than just brushing and flossing, though. For one thing, you are not always in a situation where brushing is feasible. More importantly, there are some situations where brushing can be damaging to your oral health.
For example, it is not a good idea to brush immediately after a meal. Anytime you eat, your teeth are vulnerable for a while because the acid in your food has weakened the enamel protecting your teeth. That means brushing right away can strip the enamel from your teeth, making them even more vulnerable to tooth decay.
However, just because you can’t brush doesn’t mean there isn’t anything you can do to protect your smile.
Chew Sugarless Gum Instead of Brushing after a Meal
Research has shown that chewing sugarless gum for about twenty minutes after eating will reduce your chances of getting tooth decay. This is mostly because of the increased production in saliva caused by chewing. As we are fond of mentioning in this blog, saliva is your mouth’s natural defense against tooth decay. It keeps your mouth clean and attacks the dental caries that cause tooth decay.
Chewing sugarless gum after a meal will also help remove plaque and food particles from your teeth without damaging your weakened enamel. The chewing motion, with the stickiness of the gum, will pull plaque and little pieces of food off your teeth while also coating them with saliva.
Chew Gum Flavored with Xylitol
A lot of sugarless gum is flavored by a plant derivative called xylitol. This naturally sweet chemical has been shown to have some benefits in fighting tooth decay. Although xylitol does not attack dental caries directly, it does make it harder for plaque to stick to your teeth. Since plaque often serves as a hiding place for dental caries, this mean there will be less of the bacteria on your teeth.
Maybe the best benefit of chewing gum flavored with xylitol is that the chemical has been shown to aid in remineralization, which is the process in which your body restores calcium to your tooth enamel, essentially repairing damage caused by use.
Chew in Moderation
Although chewing sugarless gum after a meal helps prevent tooth decay, you do not want to chew gum all day long. Doing so can tax your jaw muscles and contribute to TMJ pain. Just like anything else, too much of a good thing can be bad.
So, chew in moderation, and don’t forget to come to Holly Dental Care for regular cleanings and examinations
Contact us today to schedule an appointment.