When it comes to your physical health, it is often the seemingly small habits that tend to make the biggest difference. This is true in terms of physical fitness, emotional health, and oral care as well. When it comes to taking care of your teeth and gums, there are several simple practices that will help keep them healthy and prevent disease and decay like brushing twice daily, flossing, and yearly trips to the dentist. However, there is new research out that suggests chewing gum could also be one of those small habits that benefit your oral and physical health.
What Kind of Gum to Chew
Not all gum is created equal when it comes to physical and oral benefits, and like everything, moderation is always key when it comes to obtaining optimal health. Most importantly, choosing sugarless gum is vital, and the gum with the most dental benefits is xylitol gum. Xylitol is an antimicrobial, so it fights against bacteria and reduces the presence of cavities and tooth decay. Any chewing gum with sugar is not recommended as sugar can cause cavities and creates a hotbed for bacteria.
How Chewing Gum Benefits Your Teeth
As stated above, chewing gum with Xylitol helps reduce the presence of bacteria in your mouth which is extremely beneficial for your oral health. In addition to this, the act of chewing gum helps create more saliva which flushes out left over food particles, debris, and other bad bacteria from your teeth and gums. Your saliva works like a natural mouth rinse throughout the day, so chewing gum can increase these benefits. The act of chewing sugarless gum can also help reduce stains on your teeth by limiting plaque build up, causing them to be whiter. And, of course, the most obvious oral benefit of gum chewing – fresh breath!
Other Physical Benefits of Chewing Gum
While we put an emphasis on oral care, your overall physical health is very important! Regularly chewing gum has many more benefits in addition to your teeth and gums.
Helps Manage Weight – Making a habit of chewing gum can help with weight management for a couple of different reasons. For starters, the act of chewing something can help reduce cravings in general. Many people eat when they aren’t hungry and crave snacks just for the sake of having something to chew on. Gum gives you the satisfaction of chewing without the actual intake of food and extra calories.
Reduces Stress – Chewing gum is known to help release nervous energy and tension and can act as an outlet for frustration. Additionally, chewing gum can also increase your alertness which can come in handy for long road trips, long days in the office, tests, and any other instances you need to be well focused.
Promotes Good Digestion – Because chewing gum can help increase saliva production, the frequent swallowing can help benefit your digestion. This can also help reduce acid reflux!
Increased Memory – Chewing gum has been connected with increased cognitive function and memory. By increasing blood flow to the brain and slightly raising you blood pressure and heart rates, the act of chewing gum can raise brain function and memory by up to 40%.