Does chewing gum help prevent cavities in children?

Does chewing gum help prevent cavities in children?

Some types of gum prevent cavities in children. Find out when chewing gum is beneficial for oral health.

Chewing gum helps prevent cavities in children as long as it does not contain sugar . When minors chew them, they increase the flow of saliva in their mouths. This helps to remove food debris and promotes cleanliness of the oral cavity.

In addition, some of the sweeteners that are used to improve the taste of chewing gums have beneficial effects on the teeth of the little ones. In this article, we will tell you in detail how chewing gum helps prevent cavities in children and what you should take into account to choose the right one. Keep reading and find out more.

How chewing gum helps prevent cavities in children

Chewing sugarless gum is beneficial for the oral health of the little ones. Numerous studies show that it promotes saliva secretion, neutralizes oral acids, and helps control plaque bacteria . On the one hand, the simple fact of chewing increases the flow of saliva . In addition, the greater secretion of this fluid helps to eliminate food remains and other waste, so it has a self-cleaning effect.

In addition, thanks to the buffering capacity of saliva, it is possible that the acids produced by bacteria are neutralized . By keeping the pH of your mouth stable, you decrease the chances of cavities developing. Also, increased salivation increases the availability of ions such as fluoride, calcium, and phosphorus in the oral environment. With this, remineralization and strengthening of tooth enamel is possible.

On the other hand, sugar-free gum also helps prevent cavities due to the content of some antibacterial ingredients. These are artificial sweeteners, such as xylitol and sorbitol, which help inhibit the growth of harmful bacteria . There are studies that show that chewing gum with xylitol on a regular basis reduces the amount of bacterial plaque. Even, this sweetener reduces the levels of Streptococcus mutans in saliva.

What gum to choose to prevent cavities in children

As we told you, it is sugar-free gum that can prevent cavities in children. On the contrary, chewing gums with refined sugars threaten the oral health of the little ones. The latter, as they contain sucrose and other fermentable carbohydrates, are metabolized by oral bacteria. These germs produce acids that demineralize the enamel and give rise to cavities .

To choose the right candy, there are some aspects that you should consider:

  • Choose those that have the American Dental Association (ADA) seal . The presence of this seal on the product packaging is a guarantee that the content does not contain sugar and that it is not harmful to oral health.
  • Prefer those that contain non-cariogenic sweeteners, such as xylitol, sorbitol or mannitol. These ingredients increase salivary flow and reduce plaque bacteria.
  • If your child already chooses and buys his own candy, explain to him about the benefits of sugar-free gum . Having sufficient and appropriate information will help you choose the healthiest alternatives and make responsible consumption.

Other measures to take into account

While giving children sugar-free gum helps prevent cavities, it is not a substitute for other oral care. There are other practices that must be sustained to maintain the oral health of the child. Namely:

  • Oral hygiene : it is key to avoid cavities. This includes brushing teeth with fluoride toothpastes at least 2 times a day and flossing.
  • Nutritious diet : the diet of the little ones must be variable and with a minimum amount of refined sugars and ultra-processed products.
  • Visit the pediatric dentist : this should be done every six months. Periodic dental check-ups help to keep the mouth healthy and, in the event that a problem appears, to detect and treat it early.

Gum for emergency situations

Sugar-free gum in children can be an excellent option when, due to a particular situation, the child’s usual dental hygiene cannot be performed. As we told you, it is not a substitute for dental care, but a beneficial alternative until proper hygiene can be done.

As a parent, the best way to prevent cavities in your children is to maintain healthy practices that take care of their mouths. Still, you can count on some sugarless gum in your bag to use in emergency situations.