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Gone are the days when we believed that chewing gum “ground” sugar and other dental threats into teeth. Of course, chewing sugar gum is still highly discouraged– but now we know that some gum products, like xylitol-sweetened gum, can actually reduce cavity formation.

According to the ADA’s website, clinical studies have shown that “chewing sugarless gum for 20 minutes following meals can help prevent tooth decay.”

So what’s the secret?

So why does chewing gum help our teeth? Well, the secret isn’t so much in the gum but how our bodies react to the presence of chewing gum in our mouths. Chewing gum stimulates saliva production– and it’s actually saliva that does all the work.

Saliva has a lot of great properties for a healthy mouth. First of all, it neutralizes acids that break down tooth enamel and cause cavities. Saliva also contains enzymes that fight bacteria and other micro-organisms that we don’t want living in our oral cavities. And of course, saliva washes everything out of the mouth– food particles, bacteria, you name it– and into the stomach, where powerful stomach acid takes it from there.

Wait, that’s not all?

But there’s more. A new study now suggests that chewing gum can also help your powers of concentration and help you stay focused when you need to.

According to an article in Dentistry Today, chewing gum has previously been shown to improve concentration on tasks that require visual memory, but according to a new study, it looks like it helps with audio memory tasks as well.

Ever get the early afternoon doldrums after lunch break? Well, maybe popping a stick of gum and chewing for 20 minutes or so will help get your concentration back to work– we know it will help your smile!

Be sure to choose the right kind

The ADA recommends chewing only ADA recommended gum– basically, gum that does not contain sugar. Remember, chewing sugar with gum (or in candy) not only negates the action of chewing gum, but sugar has a proven role in cavity formation that we don’t want to encourage in any way.

Questions about dentist-approved gum, or just wondering how they did this study in the first place? Be sure and ask us at your next visit to Rimrock Dental, your dentist in Redmond, OR.

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