I am absolutely sugar crazy. I always had a sweet tooth since I was little. As much as I try to be good and stay away from sweets I really struggle so making sure that my oral health is well looked after is a very important thing to me. I also have a daughter now and I know the importance of transferring good habits to the little ones as they copy everything we do, the good and the bad. So keeping in mind that she is always watching me made me more aware of keeping mine and hers oral health always in check.
From a very young age we are taught about oral health. They teach us at home, in school and there are campaigns everywhere on how to properly brush your teach and how to keep the general health of your teeth and mouth. In Brazil they are very strict with how often we should brush our teeth. We teach kids to do so when they wake up, before bed and after every meal. We also teach them that sweets in excess can be quite detrimental to the overall health, not only teeth but everything. We make sure that they understand that sweets are ok in moderation.
I never had issues with my teeth growing up. I always had great feedback from my dentists saying I look after my teeth very well. But I make sure that I am always on top of my oral hygiene and especially after having my daughter I am periodically visiting my dentist to make sure all is healthy. My daughter also has periodic appointments and so far everything has been ok. She is getting more and more interested in brushing her teeth and we try to keep it fun using child friendly toothpaste and funny toothbrushes by always changing them based on cartoon characters she likes. That keeps her happy and excited when it is time to brush her teeth.
Now going back to my sweets addiction I discovered that chewing sugar free gum (SFG) helps minimize my cravings. This was quite a shock to me because I realised that I eat sweets out of boredom so if I have sugar free chewing gum on me that definitely address both issues, the craving and boredom. Plus it helps keep my sugar levels low.
There are lots various health benefits of chewing sugar free gum (SFG). Some studies and also dental experts stress that some of the main benefit is in oral health as chewing SFG increases saliva flow, remineralises teeth and neutralises plaque acids. These alone are great reasons for you to try SFG. Not to mentions it can works as anti-viral, stress buster, concentration booster, obesity reducer and so on.
Chewing gum has antiviral properties.
- Studies have found gum helps prevent ear infections in children: “Evidence from a recent Cochrane review suggests that for healthy children and children with respiratory infections, chewing xylitol gum helps prevent acute otitis media in children up to 12 y old (Hanno et al. 2011; Azarpazhooh et al. 2016)”
Chewing gum is a mood-booster that can reduce stress.
- A 2009 study found: “chewing gum condition was associated with significantly better alertness and reduced state anxiety, stress and salivary cortisol. Overall performance on the framework was also significantly better in the chewing condition.”
Gum can improve alertness to improve productivity, performance levels and personal safety:
- A 2017 study found: “Under experimental conditions, gum was associated with higher alertness regardless of whether performance tasks were completed. Rate of chewing and subjective force of chewing did not alter mood but had some limited effects on attention. Chewing gum during the workday was associated with higher productivity and fewer cognitive problems, raised cortisol levels in the morning, and did not affect heart
Chewing gum can help people lose weight.
- One study found “A small but significant reduction in snack intake was observed, chewing gum reduced weight of snack consumed by 10% compared to no gum (p<0.05). Overall, chewing gum for at least 45 min significantly suppressed rated hunger, appetite and cravings for snacks and promoted fullness (p<0.05). This study demonstrated some benefit of chewing gum which could be of utility to those seeking an aid to appetite control.”
- Another study found: “Chewing gum reduced EI by 36 cal or 8.2% for sweet and salty snacks. Hunger ratings were significantly lower and mean fullness ratings significantly higher in the gum conditions compared to no-gum. Hunger ratings also increased less over time when gum had been chewed. Rated desire to consume a sweet snack decreased significantly more over time after chewing gum compared to no-gum, but this effect was not found for the salty snack. Thus, chewing gum had a dual effect on appetite, reducing both the subjective sensations associated with eating and the amount of food eaten during a snack.”
Chewing gum also helps with quitting smoking.
- A study found: “chewing gum reduces craving and helps with withdrawal when a nicotine-dependent person cannot smoke.”
Here are some detailed benefits of chewing gum:
How gum can improve health
Chewing gum supplements the body’s natural protections.
- Chewing gum generates saliva, which is a positive because:
- Saliva has anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties.
- Saliva neutralizes plaque, which is important for preventing tooth decay.
Gum also contains xylitol, a naturally occurring alcohol that helps reduce the formation of biofilm (slime, plaque, home to bacteria) when chewed daily
- Xylitol enters the cells and produces xylitol phosphate inhibiting bacterial cell growth (biofilm)
- Daily chewing xylitol gum reduces biofilm formation by 42%
Mint Gum contains menthol, a naturally occurring compound that can boost the body’s defense system.
- Menthol binds to trigeminal receptors in the nasal lining & upper airways inhibiting virus anchorage.
- Menthol can help with minor throat irritations, and it is prescribed in topical form for muscle aches.
I will link this fact sheet here so you can read more details about these studies and see the benefits of chewing gum for yourself. Hope it helped!