Chewing Gum Can Improve Oral Health

Are you a gum chewer? Whether you enjoy blowing bubbles or use the sticky stuff to keep from snacking, you’re gum habit is also doing something pretty spectacular for your body: improving your oral health. According to a recent Fox News article, a scientific analysis of chewing gum has been published, and researchers confirmed that the chewing of gum can trap cavity-causing bacteria, removing them from your mouth when you dispose it.

The study, titled “Quantification and Qualification of BActeria Trapped in Chewed Gum,” involved the participation of five volunteers who chewed one of two commercially available pieces of spearmint gum for a time span ranging from 30 seconds to 10 minutes. They then spit the gum into a cup that contained water that had been sterilized. Approximately 100,000,000 bacteria were found in each gum piece, depending on the method and gum considered. According to the study, brushing with a new toothbrush, without toothpaste,  removes about the same amount, “which would put the chewing of gum on par with the mechanical action” of the brush.

It should be noted that the study was partially funded by the Wm. Wrigley Jr. Company, a corporation with obvious vested interest. The researchers also noted that more species of bacteria were collected by longer chewing times, but the adhesiveness begins to diminish after thirty seconds. The diminishing adhesiveness causes “a release of initially trapped, more weakly adhering bacteria from the gum.” The team hopes that their study could lead to “the development of gum that selectively removes specific disease-related bacteria from the human oral cavity.” In the meantime, it is now scientifically proven that chewing sugarless gum, when brushing isn’t an option, is a great way to keep your mouth clean and healthy.

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