If you are a smoker, you may already know that tobacco use has been linked to many different oral health problems, such as periodontal disease, tooth loss and halitosis. However, a stick of gum may help you overcome some of these issues. Here are four ways that chewing sugarless gum can help a smoker protect his or her oral health:
Chewing gum helps prevent dry mouth.
Smokers often suffer from dry mouth, which occurs when you don't have enough saliva in your mouth to keep it moisturized. Since saliva washes away plaque, oral bacteria and food particles, a lack of it can negatively affect your oral health.
When you chew gum, your salivary glands are stimulated to produce more saliva and lessen the intensity of dry mouth.
Chewing gum helps dislodge leftover food.
Due to the sticky nature of gum, it attaches to food particles that may be caught between teeth or stuck in the crevices of your mouth. Removing the particles of food takes away the food source of the cavity-causing bacteria in your mouth. Since a smoker is already more prone to cavities, limiting the amount of leftover food debris in your mouth can help lessen the chance of decay.
Chewing gum helps eradicate halitosis.
Halitosis is another name for bad breath. Smokers are more prone to bad breath due to the particles of tobacco smoke that can become trapped in their throat and lungs. Each time a smoker exhales, the stale odors from the tobacco are released into his or her mouth. In addition, due to the prevalence of dry mouth in smokers, there may be an increased population of odorous bacteria.
Sugarless gum is fragranced by the flavor compounds it contains. Thus, the breath of a smoker who is chewing mint-flavored gum will smell mintier.
Sugarless gum that is sweetened by xylitol can help prevent cavities.
Smokers are more prone to develop cavities. Xylitol is a natural sweetener found in some sugarless gum. It helps prevent and even reverse dental caries.
Studies show that when tooth enamel that is demineralized is placed in a re-mineralizing solution that also contains 20 percent xylitol, the tooth enamel shows a greater amount of repair than it does when placed in a solution that is xylitol-free.
If you smoke, you may be able to improve your oral health by regularly chewing sugarless gum. However, the gum should not replace frequent brushing and flossing. In addition, you should see a dentist, like Dr. Robert Petrtyl, regularly. If you have not visited a dentist in the past six months, schedule a routine appointment today.