Gum and Your Oral Health: To Chew Or Not To Chew?

Apr 10, 2019 | Oral Health Care

From freshening up your breath after a spicy meal to chewing it to relieve those nerves before a big meeting; gum has been used in various forms for many years. The cushioned, rubbery substance that can so easily be popped into your mouth, clear up bad breath and removed when it’s completed its job has become a necessary item in most people’s pockets and purses. As chewing gum eliminates some of the bacteria in the mouth that causes stinky odour, some people have questioned whether chewing gum is helpful or harmful to one’s oral health.

Curious to learn more about the benefits and disadvantages of chewing gum? Slipacoff Dental has everything you need to know in our chewing gum guide below.

Benefits of Chewing Gum

  • Cognitive Function: You’re not the only one who needs to chew on gum while in the waiting room at the doctors, before an interview or just to start the workday! Studies show that there is a method to your madness! According to a study conducted by PubMed Central, people who chewed gum while taking a test performed 24% better in short term-memory examinations and 36% better in long-term memory exams. Cognitive functions such as focus and reaction time were seen to improve and although one should not rely on gum for this increase in concentration, it is useful information to know.
  • Combats Acid Reflux: Acid reflux wears away at your teeth’s enamel and can lead to tooth erosion. For some individuals that suffer from acid reflux after meals, chewing gum can help calm the stomach and reduce acid inside the esophagus. Gum also increases saliva production, which could help reduce dry mouth and clears acid quickly by increasing swallowing.
  • Can Protect Teeth: The American Dental Association (ADA) has suggested that chewing sugar-free gum for approximately 20 minutes after a meal can help to reduce plaque and cavities, promote enamel and stop the development of gingivitis.

Disadvantages of Chewing Gum

  • Jaw Problems: Chewing gum consistently and more than recommended can cause you to develop jaw problems. The jaw condition temporomandibular disorder (TMD) can develop in the jaw causing immense pain when you chew. A rare jaw problem, however, it has been linked to excessive gum chewing.
  • Increases Plaque: Chewing sweetened gum is fairly bad for your teeth. Gum with sugar in it can lead to an increase in plaque development on your teeth and eventually cause tooth decay. This is because sugar is absorbed by harmful bacteria in your mouth.

At Slipacoff Dental, our dental professionals are always happy to help answer any questions regarding what’s harmful and healthy to your oral health. You deserve the best dental care, which is why we go beyond dental services, to providing comprehensive dental health education. Have questions about invisible braces, veneers, teeth whitening in Sarnia, or other dentistry services? To schedule an appointment with us, send us a message at!