That is, if the gum is sugarless. Gum with sugar in it still isn’t good for your teeth, unfortunately. Cut it out of your diet! Sugarless gum, however, can help keep your mouth healthy and your teeth clean and can be an effective dental care supplement. It does this in a few ways.

The main dental benefit of chewing gum (sugarless or otherwise) lies in stimulating your mouth to produce saliva. Saliva neutralizes the bacteria-produced acidity in your mouth and can help halt tooth decay. When you eat, the bacteria in your mouth eat too, and it produces waste in the form of acid. If you chew gum after you eat, it can help your mouth return to a normal state much faster. This is also why it is important to choose sugarless gum, though—gum with sugar will just feed more bacteria and produce more acid, meaning it’s actually possible that it will make things worse.

If you have dry mouth, chewing gum can help alleviate your symptoms. This is because the saliva-producing effect of chewing naturally fights the main cause of dry mouth, which is not producing enough saliva. While you should still consult a dentist if you have chronic dry mouth, sugarless gum can be a simple solution to temporary dryness.

Chewed after a meal, sugarless gum can also help keep your teeth clean by removing bits of food stuck to the teeth. Some varieties can freshen your breath, and others claim to whiten teeth, though we’d recommend doing your due diligence to look into those claims.

While all sugarless gum will have a beneficial effect, we still recommend looking for gum with the American Dental Association Seal. Gum with this symbol has proven, through trials and research, to be good for your teeth and therefore trustworthy at a glance.

Keep in mind that chewing gum cannot and should not replace your standard dental hygiene! It should be used as a supplement for dental care, not the primary source of it. While it can help keep your mouth healthy, sugarless gum is not a substitute for brushing twice a day and flossing.

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