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Chewing gum: helpful or harmful in preventing tooth decay?

  • A blog discussing the findings of a recent clinical study which suggests that chewing gum could save the NHS millions of pounds each year in dental treatment.

    By Sophie Angwin

Chewing gum and the impact it can have on your teeth has been widely discussed by dentists and the public over the years. There have been numerous clinical studies in more recent years that have found that chewing gum for 20 minutes following meals can help prevent tooth decay.

In the simplest terms, the research suggests that the chewing of sugarless gum (emphasis on the sugarless!) increases the flow of saliva, which washes away food and other debris, neutralizes acids produced by bacteria in the mouth and provides disease-fighting substances throughout the mouth. Increased saliva flow also carries with it more calcium and phosphate to help strengthen tooth enamel.

The findings

I recently read the findings of a new study carried our by researchers at Plymouth University Peninsula Schools of Medicine and Dentistry and published in the British Dental Journal, that chewing three pieces of gum per day (after meals) could help to reduce rates of decay significantly.

With the reduction of decay rates in dental patients, the study suggest that if people did take up these chewing habits then then the NHS could save a colossal £8.2 million per year. These savings would be as a result of less check-ups and treatment for decay carried out on the NHS.

In light of this new research, I am sure that the big chewing gum companies will start using this research in their advertising campaigns. It will also be interesting to see whether your local general dental practitioner starts recommending this relatively inexpensive way of improving your dental health.

Maintaining good oral hygiene is imperative to reducing your risk of tooth decay. It is important that dentists assist patients in maintaining good oral health and those dentists provide adequate treatment to avoid the numerous problems that can follow from suffering from poor oral health.

Our experience

The Dental Negligence Team have settled many cases whereby dentists have failed to provide adequate treatment or have failed to detect decay. Please see our recent cases section, which detail the types of cases that we have settled for our clients.

If you have suffered from dental problems which were not diagnosed by your dentist, please contact the Dental Negligence Team who will be happy to assist and advise on the prospects of bringing a dental negligence claim.

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