How Does Chewing Gum Affect My Child’s Teeth?
Chewing gum comes in different shapes, sizes, and flavors, from bubble tape to big round balls; the choices are endless! The question many parents have is how chewing gum affects their children’s oral health.
Potential Problems with Chewing Gum
Regular chewing, or in the case of younger kids, swallowing the gum, can result in some dental and overall health problems. These include digestive tract issues, abdominal pain, mouth ulcers, jaw pain from the repeated chewing motion, dental decay, and cavities.
The Sugar-Filled Chewing Gum Variety
Most kids love sugary bubble gum, and so do cavity-causing bacteria. As they feast on the sugar, bacteria create acids, which erode and eat through the protective tooth enamel, leading to tooth decay. So if your child’s chewing gum contains sugar, it’s time to search for a healthier alternative.
Sugarless Chewing Gum
You may be surprised to hear that sugarless gum is not only harmless but can actually provide benefits to your child’s oral health. Numerous studies have concluded that sugar-free chewing gum helps rinse off acids and neutralizes acids left behind in the mouth.
The benefits of sugarless chewing gum don’t stop here. Most of the sugarless varieties contain a sweetener known as “xylitol,” which helps inhibit harmful bacteria growth. That lowers the chances of your child developing tooth decay or cavities. So if your child wants to grab some gum, just offer the sugarless variety, especially one with xylitol for a dental health boost. You’ll find both sugar-filled and sugar-free gum bursting with flavors, and your child won’t even notice a difference.
Healthy Habits for Healthy Smiles
It’s important to keep in mind that the dental benefits sugarless gum offers cannot replace regular brushing and flossing. Moreover, you must make sure your child is old enough to understand how to chew gum and not swallow it.
To maintain long-term healthy smiles, we recommend establishing a daily oral health care routine, including brushing at least twice a day for two minutes each time and flossing between all the teeth at least once a day. It’s also important for your child to snack on healthy choices, such as raw fruits and veggies, nuts, and cheese. Not only does consuming healthy snacks help promote healthy smiles, but it also reflects on your child’s overall health.
We encourage you to maintain your child’s regular dental exams and cleanings. During your visits, we will evaluate every aspect of your child’s oral health. We will determine any immediate needs and preventive measures to maintain healthy teeth and gums. Moreover, we will evaluate your child’s oral health practices and demonstrate proper brushing and flossing techniques.
Quality Pediatric Dentistry Services in Glendale, AZ
Contact Smile Explorers Pediatric Dentistry to learn more about healthy habits for long-term healthy smiles. Our team is proud to offer outstanding preventive dentistry services designed to halt the development or progression of dental disease. We look forward to caring for all your child’s dental needs. Call us and schedule your child’s appointment today!