At Brodsky Orthodontics it is our mission to increase good oral health awareness, instilling good habits and practices in our clients. It’s important to us to be able to provide our patients with facts and information that can help lead to healthy lifestyle choices, ensuring healthy teeth and a beautiful smile for years to come.
First, we’ll think about why people might chew gum in the first place. A person might chew gum as some form of stress relief, which can often take the place of smoking (nicotine gum is commonly chewed by people who are trying to refrain from smoking). You might also chew gum to freshen your breath, maybe before meeting someone who you are trying to impress, maybe on a date, for instance.
People also chew gum to avoid food cravings. Studies have actually shown that chewing gum can promote junk food consumption, since the mint flavor many gums possess often doesn’t pair well with many fruits or vegetables. Chewing gum can also be addictive. Sugar can be addictive. So it might not be your fault.
Here are a few reasons why you should at the very least think twice about chewing gum. We know gum manufacturers are going to hate us for this, but they probably already do anyway.
Gum has sugar!
Sugar equals bad for your teeth. Chewing gum has copious amounts of sugar to improve taste, sugar that settles in your mouth while you think you’re freshening up the place. This sugar turns into acids that deteriorate your teeth and tooth enamel. Even sugarless gum has colors and acidic flavors added that attack your teeth — even worse than sugar, which needs to turn into acid in order to start harming your teeth.
Not only that, non-sugarless chewing gums often contain artificial sweeteners that can be potentially dangerous to your body, getting exposed from the walls of your mouth, bypassing a digestive system that would normally aid in clearing some of the toxins from your body. Aspartame, for instance, has been linked to birth defects, cancers, brain tumors, and excessive weight gain.
Some chewing gums contain strange ingredients.
Lanolin, for instance, can be found in some chewing gum. This is a sheep byproduct, a waxy substance derived by sheep’s wool, which keeps chewing gum soft in the mouth. This isn’t exactly dangerous to your health, but it’s a bit unsettling, right?
Gum can release mercury from tooth fillings.
If you have mercury fillings, chewing gum can actually cause mercury (a known neurotoxin) to be released, invading the bloodstream, causing oxidative processes in your tissues. Dental amalgam fillings can release mercury vapor during and after excessive gum chewing.
Chewing gum can lead to problems with your jaw.
TMJ disorders can often occur from prolonged gum chewing. At the very least, chewing gum is known to add stress to your jaw, and if you already suffer from TMJ, then you will certainly aggravate the situation. Chewing gum can also lead to headaches based on the same principle.
Chewing gum will mask bad breath, not get rid of it.
You might have a minty-fresh sensation in your mouth for a period of time, but it’s not the same as a good old fashioned brushing and flossing sensation brings. Bad breath is also the symptom of digestive problems or excessive tooth decay. Improved diet and brushing habits can often lead to improved breath.
Chewing gum inhibits your metabolism.
This one might be fairly surprising. Metabolic health is extremely important, and chewing gum can stimulate saliva production for prolonged, unnatural amount of time, which takes away from other metabolic functions. Chewing gum can also lead to excess intake of air in your lungs, which can cause pressure to build up around the intestine, causing bloating and cramps.
It’s a good idea to switch to mints. But nothing is a replacement for good brushing habits. If you snack a lot or suffer from bad breath, you can implement great brushing habits into your daily routine and start to notice benefits to your oral and physical health. Contact Brodsky Orthodontics to schedule your next check up and we’ll tell you all about the ways you can build a fantastic foundation for lifelong oral health.