Many people chew gum simply for the taste, flavor, or to cover up bad breath. Well, for whatever reason you chew gum, keep it up. Chewing sugarless gum after every meal stimulates salivary flow which clears food from the mouth and neutralizes plaque acid. By chewing gum, you increase the production of saliva by 10 times the normal amount! Proper saliva flow through your mouth is very important for dental and oral health because it aids in the prevention of tooth decay and disease by removing waste and particles from the mouth.
Gum has evolved over time since ancient use with the Greeks and Mayans. Today, the base of gum products are made from a blend of synthetics such as resins and waxes. The American Dental Association supports the use of chewing gum based on numerous studies of the positive effects sugarless gum has in oral care. Studies have shown that chewing sugarless gum for 20 minutes after a meal can reduce the risk of tooth decay.
The act of chewing initially starts to increase the flow and production of saliva in the mouth. Chewing gum after eating will help neutralize and wash away the acids produced during the break down of foods. Without sufficient saliva flow, plaque and bacteria can remain on the tooth, causing it to break down the enamel, which then may result in tooth decay.
Chewing gum should never replace brushing and flossing. It is still necessary to keep up with good oral hygiene and brush twice a day and floss at least once. For a complete list of ADA approved sugarless gum, check out this list.