Human beings have, since ancient times, had the habit of chewing gum in its different forms. Greeks had their mastiche, ancient Mayans chewed chicle, and European settlers in America favored spruce sap.
Today, chewing gum is still popular and for different reasons. Despite your reasons for chewing gum, this habit can have an impact on your oral health. Here are four ways chewing gum may affect your oral health.
1. Chewing gum may aggravate TMJ pain
According to TMJ doctors from TMJ & Sleep Therapy Centre of Northern Indiana, any problem that harms the jaw and chewing muscles can lead to a painful TMJ disorder. Chewing gum can hurt your jaw point because of the tension on the jaw muscles as you chew. Fortunately, chewing gum doesn’t usually cause temporomandibular disorders. Still, it may make your TMJ pain worse.
2. Chewing can help cure dry mouth
Chewing sugarless gum can help combat dry mouth. Chewing helps increase saliva flow, and this goes a long way in reversing the dryness and discomfort associated with dry mouth.
3. Chewing gum may help prevent tooth decay
Clinical studies have ascertained that chewing sugarless gum for 20 minutes after meals can contribute to tooth decay prevention. Chewing helps increase the flow of saliva in the mouth, and this flow can help neutralize and wash away enamel-damaging mouth and stomach acids. These acids can break down enamel and create conditions for tooth decay. Increased saliva flow may also increase the amount of calcium and phosphate available to tooth enamel.
4. Chewing gum can help fight bad breath
Chewing sugarless gum is an effective remedy for foul breath. Some flavored gum products can reduce oral bacteria or just mask bad odor.
Chewing gum works to exercise the muscles of mastication, cleanse the oral cavity, and stimulate salivary flow. However, constant or excessive chewing may worsen jaw pain. TMJ doctors consequently discourage chewing gum for people with temporomandibular joint dysfunction. If you have no TMJ pain, chew sugarless gum and reap the benefits.