Skip to main content

Oral Health-Boosting Chewing Gums: Effective or Marketing Gimmicks?

By May 31, 2024June 24th, 2024Blog, Dental

Did you know that chewing gum isn’t just for freshening your breath? Many say they offer oral health benefits. From mastic gum to xylitol gum to oral probiotic gum, does science back these claims, or are they just marketing tactics? Here, Dr. Anthony LaVacca and the Naperville Dental Specialists team break down three of the most popular kinds of oral health-boosting gums and see if they live up to the hype.

Xylitol Gum: A Sweet Solution for Your Teeth

What exactly is xylitol gum? Well, first, let’s clarify what xylitol is. Xylitol is a natural sugar alcohol found in many fruits and vegetables. It’s a sugar substitute that’s lower in calories and doesn’t raise blood sugar levels like refined white sugar or glucose-fructose. So, gum with xylitol is better for your health than gum with other sugars… that includes your oral health! How? Studies show several oral health benefits of xylitol, such as:

Reduces Cavities: Xylitol can reduce the risk of cavities by inhibiting the growth of Streptococcus mutans, the bacteria responsible for tooth decay. With xylitol, the bacteria in the mouth changes, resulting in fewer and fewer decay-causing bacteria on teeth. This leads to less plaque formation and lower levels of acids that weaken your tooth enamel. Remember, though, chewing xylitol isn’t a replacement for brushing, flossing, and these tricks for leveling up your oral health.

Increases Saliva Production: The action of chewing stimulates saliva flow, which helps neutralize acids in the mouth and washes away food particles. The bonus with chewing xylitol — and what makes it the best sugar-free gum for teeth — is that you get both increased saliva without the detrimental effects of other sugars.

ADA Approval: Many xylitol gums have received the American Dental Association’s (ADA) Seal of Acceptance, indicating they meet rigorous health safety and efficacy standards.

Mastic Gum: Ancient Remedy or Modern Miracle?

Your first question might be, “What is mastic gum?” It’s not typically something you’ll find in the candy aisle. Mastic gum is a resin from the mastic tree, primarily found in Greece. It’s been used for thousands of years in traditional medicine since one of the main mastic gum benefits is its antimicrobial properties.

So, does mastic gum work to improve your oral health? Though more studies are required, existing studies on mastic chewing gum suggest it can help reduce cavities. Mastic gum benefits include:

Reduces Bacterial Load: Mastic gum has been shown to reduce the bacteria levels in the mouth, which can help prevent tooth decay and gum disease.

Antioxidant Properties: It contains antioxidants that can help protect the gums and teeth from damage.

Improves Digestion: One study indicated that mastic gum helped with dyspepsia — a group of digestive system conditions. Better digestion can lead to improved overall health, including your mouth.

Want to check out a mastic gum product to see what it’s like? Here’s one mastic gum brand for more information.

Probiotic Gum: A New Frontier for Oral Health?

Maybe equally unfamiliar is our third type of gum: probiotic gum. What is probiotic gum? You ask. Probiotic gum contains a good kind of bacteria that’s supposed to help balance the oral microbiome. The idea is similar to taking probiotic supplements for gut health, but the bacteria strains in probiotic gum are specific to the oral environment. These probiotics colonize your mouth’s teeth, gums, and soft tissues, creating a biofilm of good bacteria.

Like the studies on mastic gum benefits, more studies are needed on probiotic gum to prove its benefits fully. But, one study does show that probiotic supplements like probiotic gum show promise for treating and preventing oral health issues.

So, what would the best gum with probiotics do for teeth and gums? The best probiotic gum would:

Reduce Plaque: Some studies suggest probiotic gum can reduce plaque formation and help manage gingivitis.

Combat Bad Breath: Probiotics can help combat bad breath by reducing harmful bacteria in the mouth.

Check out what this probiotic gum brand has to say about itself!

So, Is Gum Good for Your Teeth?

Now that we’ve covered a few of the most common gums that boast oral health benefits, how can we answer the question, “Is gum good for your teeth?” As we mentioned when talking about xylitol, at least the mechanical act of chewing gum increases saliva flow, which helps neutralize acids and remove food particles. Chewing gum also activates our taste buds, which produce saliva.

However, not all gums are created equal. For proven oral health benefits, we say the best gum is xylitol gum — or those with the ADA Seal of Acceptance. Mastic and probiotic gum have some science to back them up, but more research is needed.

Getting Dental Care (and Trusted Info!) From Your Naperville Dentists

The team at Naperville Dental Specialists cares about your oral health — what we can do as dental professionals to bring out your best smile and how we can guide your at-home dental care. If you need more info about gum or other products that say they’re good for your teeth, we’re here with expert advice.

Contact us to make your next appointment at our award-winning Naperville dental practice, whether for a cleaning or more complex dental care like a bridge or dental implants. We’re happy to answer any questions you have when you come in!

Close Menu