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Chewing gum and oral health

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The first commercial chewing gum was made and sold in 1848, but chewing gums have been around since ancient times. The ancient Greeks chewed a gummy substance called Mastiche derived from the resin of the "Mastic" tree and North American Indians chewed the sap from Spruce trees. Today the base for most gums are a blend of synthetic materials (elastomers, resins and waxes). 

There is good news for those of us who like to chew gum. The ADA Seal recognizes that chewing gum has scientifically demonstrated that it can help protect teeth. Clinical studies have shown that chewing gum for 20 minutes following a meal can help prevent tooth decay. This is because the act of chewing gum increases salivary flow. This increased flow of saliva helps neutralize and wash away the acids that are produced when food is broken down by bacteria in plaque on your teeth. Over time, acid can break down tooth enamel, creating conditions for decay. Increased saliva also carries with it more calcium and phosphate to help strengthen enamel.

What type of gum is best? Sugarless to start of course! Look for the ADA seal, a company earns this seal by demonstrating that its product meets the requirements for safety and efficacy for sugar free chewing gum. 

click on this link for a list of ADA approved chewing gum