I am wondering if excessive gum chewing is damaging to my teeth? I chew gum nonstop. Pretty much from the time I wake up until bedtime. Of course, I don’t chew gum while I’m eating other food. But right after a meal, I will pop in a new piece. Is this bad for me?
– Bethany in Massachusetts
Traditionally, dentists thought it was bad for your teeth to chew gum. This was mainly due to the fact that gum had sugar in it. But nowadays, it has been realized that chewing gum actually helps to keep your teeth clean. It can actually increase saliva production. And an increase in saliva is a positive thing for your teeth because helps prevent tooth decay. Also, if you cannot brush your teeth after a meal or snack, gum can be an excellent solution to clean your teeth.
Today, there are countless brands of sugar-free gum. What you may not realize though, is even if the gum does contain sugar, you can still benefit from gum chewing. If you chew it for a long enough time period the sugar dissipates and doesn’t harm teeth.
A scenario where you need to limit gum chewing is if you have TMJ disorder or tend to grind your teeth. The temporomandibular joint can be overworked by excessive gum chewing. The muscles that surround your jaw may get sore or lock up and cause pain, and may even spasm. But if you haven’t noticed any issues with your jaw feeling tight, clicking, excessive tooth wear, or having any other pain or inflammation, then you have nothing to worry about.
This blog is brought to you by Vero Beach dentist Dr. Rick Root.