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Why Chewing Gum Can Be Good for You

Posted Feb 15 2011 3:21pm

For years, we have been encouraging children not to chew gum because it causes tooth decay. Now we can encourage them to chew gum daily to prevent tooth decay!

I’m Dr. Randy LaFrom, a Cupertino and San Jose dentist , and I would like you to encourage you and your kids to chew gum daily – gum containing xylitol, not sugar, aspartame, or saccharine.

Xylitol is a natural substance that tastes like sugar, without the after-taste. It has 40 percent fewer calories and 75 percent fewer carbohydrates than sugar, so it’s great for dieters.  Xylitol is not easily converted to fat and has almost no effect on insulin levels, so it’s also great for diabetics.

Here are some other facts about the benefits of xylitol:

  • Xylitol enhances mineral absorption in tooth enamel, increasing its strength.
  • Saliva production is stimulated by using small amounts of xylitol consistently. This helps not only to fight tooth decay, but it’s a benefit for those who suffer from dry mouth. It helps raise the pH of the saliva – particularly after drinking acidic drinks, making it less likely to cause cavities.
  • Chewing gum with xylitol can help prevent ear infections. The chewing and swallowing promote clearing of earwax, and the xylitol helps prevent the attachment of bacteria in the Eustachian tubes.
  • Using a xylitol nasal spray can significantly reduce the incidence of sinus infections, allergies, and asthma.
  • Xylitol has also been found to increase the activity of white blood cells involved in fighting bacteria and thus may help build immunity, protect against chronic degenerative diseases, and it may have anti-aging benefits.

Proper xylitol use

You need to chew or ingest approximately six to eight grams of xylitol daily to help prevent cavities. It is recommended to have 10 grams daily to fight off sinus conditions and middle ear infections. Xylitol should be used three times daily after meals and snacks.  If you are giving your children gum made with xylitol, allow them to chew a piece three to five times a day.  They should chew it for at least five minutes after meals. Some gums with xylitol are IceBreakers and Trident. Make sure xylitol is the first ingredient in your gum to be a true decay-preventing gum.

For more information about the benefits of xylitol and ways to prevent tooth decay, subscribe to this blog (see the right sidebar) and join LaFrom Dentistry on Facebook . You can also schedule a checkup, cleaning, or consultation with me, Dr. Randy LaFrom, by calling (408)996-8595.


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