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You have an unexpected ally in taking care of your smile: chewing gum! Chewing sugar-free gum, especially after meals, helps protect your mouth from tooth decay.

Cavities are formed when the enamel of your tooth erodes enough to form a hole. This is caused by bacteria that feed on sugars and produce an acidic byproduct that wears away enamel.

Chewing gum fights cavities by stimulating saliva production. Saliva is your body’s first defense against cavities, in a number of ways. First, saliva cleans food particles and debris away from your teeth. This removes the food that the bacteria feed on, reducing the acidic waste that causes cavities. Saliva also strengthens teeth by providing nutrients that strengthen the enamel.

Chewing gum for 20 minutes after eating helps prepare your teeth for brushing. Brushing teeth directly after eating can damage enamel, as the acids present in food make enamel sensitive to abrasions. It is a good idea to chew sugar-free gum between meals and brushing to quickly remove food particles from teeth.

Of course, chewing sugared gum also stimulates saliva, but the sugars present in the gum feed the bacteria that cause cavities, negating the positive effects of chewing gum.

Of course, chewing gum is only part of a complete oral healthcare routine. Brush twice a day, floss once a day, and visit your dentist regularly. To schedule an appointment in the Gilbert, Arizona area, call Artistry in Dentistry at 480-374-5562. Dr. Sheldon Sullivan and our team will be happy to help keep your smile bright!