I found some all-natural chewing gum online. It contains raw sugar, not high-fructose corn syrup. I’m a habitual gum chewer, and my husband insists it’s not good for my teeth. Am I harming my teeth? – Thanks. Summerlynn
Chewing gum can be good for your teeth, but if you have existing jaw joint problems, it’s best to limit or avoid gum. Consider a few facts.
1. Chewing Gum Cleans Your Teeth
Although the dental profession used to think chewing gum was bad for your teeth, it cleans them. If you chew gum long enough to dissolve the sugar in it, the gum won’t harm your teeth. Chewing stimulates saliva flow, and is healthy for your teeth in several ways:
- Cleans your teeth when you don’t have a toothbrush
- Stimulates saliva flow
- Minerals from saliva strengthen tooth enamel
- Combats tooth decay
2. It’s Not a Substitute for Flossing and Brushing
Flossing and brushing thoroughly clean your teeth—chewing gum doesn’t. Dental floss removes food debris between your teeth and helps prevents bacteria growth.
3. What About Chewing Gum and TMJ?
If you have a temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ), extensive chewing gum can overwork your jaw muscles. It can make your jaw muscles sore or cause spasms.
The temporomandibular joint is on the side of your face near your ears. It helps your jaw open and close as you speak, laugh, chew, or yawn.
Limit or avoid chewing gum if you have TMJ symptoms:
- Jaw clicking, popping, pain, or stiffness
- Ringing in your ears
- Neck pain
Don’t Ignore TMJ Symptoms
If you have TMJ symptoms, avoiding or limiting chewing gum might not be enough. Schedule an appointment with a dentist who has advanced training in diagnosing and treating the disorder. You might need a custom nightguard to wear at night, relax your jaw muscles, and prevent you from grinding or clenching your teeth.
Colorado Springs dentist Dr. Joseph Rota sponsors this post.