How Chewing Gum Can Help Your Oral Health

By Jason Tetro, Huffpost 

The question has plagued dental professionals for years. Is chewing gum good or bad for your teeth? The rubbery substance has been used for millennia dating back to the Ancient Egyptians and Mayans. Originally gum was used to keep the mouth busy during times or work, ennui or angst but in the latter part of the 19th Century, specially formulated sticks were developed to help keep teeth white and improve breath.

Jump a hundred years later and the benefits of chewing were put under scrutiny. During the 1970s and ’80s, a number of studies revealed the lack of any dental benefit. There was no significant plaque reduction unless combined with normal oral health procedures, such as brushing and flossing. In contrast, the addition of sugars and other acid-promoting ingredients made gum an enemy rather than a friend of oral health.

As formulations modified, research revealed some benefit with alternative ingredient lists. The use of sugarless gum was shown to help if only to dilute out the levels of sugar and low pH in the mouth. The addition of sugar-substitutes xylitol and sorbitolhelped to reduce the formation of caries. In the case of xylitol, a lower incidence of other secondary problems including ear infections was also seen.

 Though research provided some indication of the impact of gum on health, few investigated the effects of chewing on the most populous resident of the mouth, sinuses and respiratory tract: microbes. There was a good reason for this lack of study; until a few years ago, no one really knew the nature of the oral microbiome other than those species known to be associated with dental cavities. As a result, the first studies focused on whether gum could reduce the levels of pathogens without any specific perspective on the rest of the over 250 different types contained in the average human mouth.

But last week, an international team of researchers provided the first comprehensive look at the impact of gum on oral health. Their initial goal was to identify the dynamics of chewing gum on the microbes. Yet, the results provided them — and us — with a potential path to even greater oral health with the help of a few moments of chewing pleasure.

The methods were relatively simple. The group asked five volunteers to chew one of two different sugarless gums containing sorbitol and other non-cavity causing ingredients. At varying time points between 30 seconds and 10 minutes, the volunteers spit the well masticated ball into a sterile solution. Then the researchers used a variety of methods ranging from culture to genetic techniques to identify the bacteria in the gum. To make the results even more robust, they looked at pieces under the electron microscope to visualize how the bacteria adhered to the matrix.

When all the data had been analyzed, the group was treated to a surprise. While they expected to see bacteria in the gum — and they did to the tune of 100 million per piece — they were taken aback when they found the highest concentrations in gum spit out after the first few minutes. As the time went on, the concentration decreased in a linear fashion.

This reduction in extraction efficiency over time might have been due to a higher level of saliva in the mouth or the lack of stickiness, allowing the bacteria to return to the mouth. Either way, the data suggested the best amount of time to chew in terms of oral health was anywhere from 30 seconds to two minutes. Any time after that, a loss of 10 per cent of the population per minute would occur.

The group then looked at the nature of the microbes in the gum. Again, there was a surprise waiting for them in the data. When they looked at the origin of the bacteria, not all isolates were part of the tooth or the salivary microbiome. In the case of one gum, less than half of the bacteria could be traced. The results suggested the majority of bacteria were transient rather than colonized.

This result was particularly intriguing as the gum could potentially remove any pathogenic invaders who might be on the lookout for a home. The team suggested this radical removal might actually assist the maintenance of health. While the oral cavity has the ability to fight off infections through immune function, enzymes and antimicrobial peptides, physical removal via gum chewing might offer significant help in the process.

The last step of visualization involved what the researchers suggested was akin to looking for a needle in a haystack. Despite the over 100-million bacteria isolated from a stick of gum, the researchers had difficulties finding a bacterium using the electron microscope. When they did, it was alone, not in clumps, and took up only a small surface area.

This latter result suggests a large potential for increased bacterial removal. By incorporating ingredients to make the gum stickier to pathogens, a means of oral health improvement could be developed. This could be beneficial to help individuals who are particularly susceptible to infections as well as those who might be travelling. They can maintain their microbiome by getting rid of the newly introduced strains.

Overall, this particular study reinforces the beliefs of those over a century and a half ago who believed chewing gum could be good for health. Although the road has been bumpy and formulations have changed to reflect the necessities of a healthy lifestyle, the influence of gum on oral health appears to be positive. Whether the goal is fresher breath or removal of pathogens, it seems a few minutes of gum chewing might be an excellent way to keep a healthy mouth.

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Turbocharge your teeth cleaning: Hi-tech ‘triple toothbrush’ can clean your mouth in just ten seconds

By Mark Prigg, Daily Mail

Now you definitely have time to brush! Check out this clip on how to clean your mouth in just 10 seconds with this brand new toothbrush technology
For those who simply don’t have time to brush their teeth in the morning, help is at hand. The Oral Surgery DC Team

A new Kickstarter campaign is raising funds for a $99 triple headed electric toothbrush. Its inventors claim it can clean an entire mouth in just ten seconds.

‘Wouldn’t it be simpler and easier to always be sure you are brushing the right way, and just spend a few seconds brushing rather than 2 minutes?’ the firm behind the GlareSmile says. It says the three brushes work together. The two outer brushes respectively brush the vestibular and lingual/palatal surfaces of each tooth, while the central brush cleans the occlusal surfaces.

The rotation movement from the bottom to the top guarantees plaque removal the same way you would do with your manual or electric toothbrush, but faster and with no risk of mistakes.’Our team is led by a dentist, who has been searching for a solution for the last 5 years, and after several tests and prototypes has invented GlareSmile, the first electric toothbrush which works 100% automatically on your teeth, guaranteeing the correct brushing technique in just 10 seconds.’ it claims.

GlareSmile also has an internal memory which keeps track of the usage statistics, which can also be synced with an app. ‘By connecting GlareSmile to your laptop you can download all the statistics and through an App on your smartphone, connect to your dentist and share them,’ the firm said. The brush also has a built in UV light to kill bacteria. When inside the removable cap, the 3 brushes rotate against plastic listels, automatically removing any kind of residual from the bristles.

‘In an industry which has not experienced great innovations over the last decades, our aim is to spread this breakthrough change to make everyone’s oral health simpler and better,’ the Italian firm says.

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Happy International Women’s Day!

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🌹 Our amazing staff, dressed in red, gave all of our patients at the DC office red roses yesterday!

Happy International Women’s Day!

“Can Drinking Lemon Water Damage My Teeth?”

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By David Wolf,

🍋 Sadly, that refreshing water with citrus fruit in your office can do more harm than you think! Read below for tips on avoiding the acidity and still enjoying the benefits. The Oral Surgery DC Team

The health benefits of drinking lemon water are very well documented. In the past, we’ve even recommended you drink a large glass of it first thing in the morning.

By doing so, as reported by Food Matters, you unlock a whole range of benefits that include boosting the immune system, improved digestion and strengthening of the liver.

Not to mention the fact that it can quench your thirst like no other flavored drink out there, something much appreciated as the hot summer months creep up on us.

But there’s a downside we often forget to mention when it comes to drinking lemon water and it’s no slouch…

Lemon Water’s Effect On Your Teeth


All citrus fruits, due to their acids, can damage your teeth. This is especially true for lemons. They contain high amounts of citric acid that quickly wears away at the enamel of your teeth.

Enamel is hard to grow back and once it’s severely damaged, it can even be irreparable.

Signs of enamel erosion include:

  • Tooth Discoloration – Enamel gives teeth their white appearance. Once it wears away, the teeth may have a yellow tint because dentin, the substance that formes the inside of your teeth, is showing through.
  • Transparent Edges – If the edges of the teeth are transparent, this is a sure sign that they enamel is thin and not as strong as it should be.
  • Tooth Sensitivity – The dentin is exposed to the nerve of the tooth. Therefore, if the enamel is being eroded, the inside of the tooth is exposed to temperatures that make eating or drinking cold things uncomfortable.

How To Get Around These Risks

I mean, you don't really want to give this up, do you?

I mean, you don’t really want to give this up, do you?

Wait! Don’t give up on lemon water just yet. Despite the potential for harmful effects, there are things you can do to prevent damage. Here are a few:

  1. Try cold lemon water instead of warm lemon water. This will reduce the amount of available acid that can touch your teeth.
  2. Don’t brush your teeth immediately after drinking lemon water. This will wear away the enamel even more as the citric acid is still fresh on your teeth. Before you do brush, rinse your mouth with water.
  3. Drink lemon water carefully so that it does not touch your teeth or drink with a straw so that it bypasses your teeth.
  4. Try lemon essential oil instead. It has all the benefits, but the oil is made from the lemon peel not the fruit. This makes it healthier for your teeth! 1 -2 drops in a glass of water is perfect!

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These 4 Natural Remedies Will Repair Receding Gums

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By Brandon Richard,

🍵 Need ideas on how to help receding gums? These four natural remedies may help:

Dental Implant 101

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😬 You may be surprised to know that a lot happens in your mouth when you lose a single tooth!

Learn more in our short explainer video here: