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Does chewing gum clean your teeth?

November 17th, 2020


The short answer is… yes!

Yes, that is, as long as it’s sugar-free. And, even better if the gum is sweetened with xylitol (more on that below.) 

Chewing gum containing sugar can increase the chances of developing a cavity but, the exact opposite is true for sugar-free gum. In fact, if brushing is not possible, chewing sugar-free gum after a meal or snack can be a good thing. 

The very act of chewing along with the flavour of the sweeteners in the gum increases the rate of saliva flow. The increased saliva helps to remove food particles from tooth surfaces. It also helps to neutralize the acids in the mouth that can cause tooth decay. And chewing gum sweetened with xylitol adds another layer of protection against cavities.

Xylitol is a natural sweetener found in some berries, fruit, vegetables and mushrooms. It is as sweet as white sugar and the type used in sugar-free gum is usually made from birch bark. Studies show that when xylitol is present, certain cavity-causing bacteria lose the ability to stick to teeth. Without being able to stick to teeth the bacteria cannot cause tooth decay.  

Chewing sugar-free gum is not a replacement for good oral hygiene practises that include brushing and flossing. But it is nice to know that if brushing or flossing are not possible after eating, chewing sugar-free gum can help in the short-term.




Appleby Dental,

Delta Dental,

Oral Health Foundation,

Posted in Dental Care