Are flossing and chewing sugar-free gum a good idea?
Dentists see lower rates of tooth decay and healthier gum tissue in patients who use floss or other methods to remove food debris and plaque between teeth.
Clinical trials to prove the efficacy of flossing are very difficult, lengthy and expensive to conduct. Trials comparing patients who floss to those who don’t run the risk of exposing the control group to situations where they would get tooth decay and gum disease. We know from lab studies how tooth decay is created and how to prevent it. We only need to look at how effective each method is in removing plaque and food debris.
We recommend brushing your teeth twice a day (first thing in the morning, last thing at night) with fluoridated toothpaste for at least two minutes at a time. Remove food debris and plaque between teeth with floss, a dental pick, prethreaded flosser, tiny brushes that reach between the teeth, water flosser or wooden plaque remover.
Chewing gum is thought to be the world’s oldest candy — we’ve been chomping down on it for more than 5,000 years! But what do dentists think of all that chewing? While the people who care for our teeth aren’t usually fans of candy, when it comes to sugarless gum, most dentists give it the nod.
Chewing sugarless gum is a great way to help stimulate saliva flow in patients with dry mouth. That salivary stimulation also helps protect your teeth from decay-causing bacteria, so if you aren’t able to brush your teeth after eating, chewing sugarless gum can help.
Go ahead, have a piece of (sugarless) gum and make your dentist happy. Chewing sugarless gum can help freshen breath in the short term; although gum doesn’t bleach the teeth, it can help remove some surface stains.
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