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Is chewing gum bad for oral health?

If you are an obsessive gum chewer, you may be wondering if maybe you should cut back a bit. You may be wondering if chewing gum is a harmless habit or one that is doing irreparable damage to your teeth and jaw. Here are the good points and bad points to chewing gum! 

Reasons not to chew gum

If you chew gum with sugar, then, of course, you are coating your teeth with sugar as you chew. Another reason to give up gum with sugar is that some research has shown a link between headaches and constant gum chewing, especially in people who are prone to having migraines and tension headaches. 

People with TMJ, a disorder of the jaw that can cause headaches, ear aches, and pain in the jaw, might find that chewing gum makes the problem worse – it overworks the jaw muscles and tightens the muscles in the face and the neck. Chewing gum can also contribute to the development of TMJ. 

Reasons to chew gum

But chewing gum is not all bad. There are some reasons to chew gum, as well. Minty gum is a quick way to freshen breath. Research has shown that chewing gum can help to reduce stress and improve alertness and memory. Many people chew gum when they are trying to lose weight or stop smoking, as they swear it can help take their minds off of eating or cigarettes. 

Chewing the right kind of gum can help your oral health as well. Sugarless gum can increase the saliva in the mouth, which washes debris and bacteria off of teeth. Gum with xylitol in it can even help to prevent tooth decay and bad breath. 

Chewing gum can freshen breath, improve your mental state, and can even (if you chew the right kind of gum) help to keep your teeth healthy. But don’t just depend on chewing xylitol gum to keep your teeth in good shape – make sure you visit your dentist for check-ups and whenever something just doesn’t feel right. Call the Cabot, Arkansas office of Dr. Samuel Jirik at (501) 843-9561 to make an appointment today!

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