Researchers in Holland have recently found that chewing sugar-free gum for 10 minutes after eating can remove as many as 100 million bacteria from the mouth. According to a new study, this is roughly the same amount of bacteria removed by flossing, prompting researchers to suggest that chewing gum after eating is just as effective as flossing. But before you get too excited remember this: flossing removes food particles, plaque, and tartar from below the gum line. No amount of chewing gum can provide those same benefits.

Is chewing sugar-free gum after eating beneficial for oral health? Yes. And no. Researchers have found that chewing gum for periods longer than 10 minutes actually allows bacteria to be deposited back onto teeth, negating any benefit achieved by chewing gum in the first place. And when seen as a suitable alternative to brushing and flossing, chewing gum may provide a false sense of security and hasten the development of cavities and gum disease.

In the end, Fairfax family dentist Dr. Pamela Marzban suggests you enjoy sugar-free chewing gum as you see fit. Just don’t skip steps in your oral hygiene routine under the impression that gum will keep teeth healthy and clean.

For more general dental tips, contact Fairfax family dentist Dr. Pamela Marzban and schedule an appointment today.