Moderate chewing of sugar-free gum reduces tooth decay – Dentists

Some dentists in Lagos on Saturday said that chewing sugar-free gum after meals will reduce the risk of tooth decay.
They told the News Agency of Nigeria in interviews that moderate chewing of sugar-free gum was an essential part of oral healthcare.
Dr. Femi Ojo of the Crystal Dentistry, Suruletre, Lagos State, said that it was essential to sensitise people to the need to moderately chew sugar-free gum, especially after meals.
Ojo said: “The saliva that neutralises plaque acid, thereby preventing tooth decay, is stimulated when sugar-free gum is taken.
“It works in such a way that, if you chew after eating, the increased flow of saliva will help to neutralise and wash away acids.
“These acids are produced when food is broken down by the bacteria in plaque on your teeth.
“Over a long period, the acid can break down tooth enamel and give rise to decay.”
According to him, research has shown that increased saliva flow carries more phosphate and calcium, which help to strengthen tooth enamel.
Dr. Fred Omoba, who works with the Optimal Clinics, Isolo, Lagos State, added that moderate chewing of the gum would help to eliminate bad breath.
Omoba said: “Some people also take gum to keep awake but excessive chewing of gum has negative effects on the teeth.
“Dentists advise that you brush your teeth twice a day for at least two minutes, using fluoride toothpaste, as well as visit your dentists at least two times in a year.”
A microbiologist, Dr. Nkechi Nwosu, advised that excessive chewing of the gum should be avoided.
Nwosu said: “It is worthy to note that, like in every other thing in life, excessive use of sugar-free gum is not good.
“Sugar-free gum should be used in moderation as one may be at risk of developing abdominal pain and severe diarrhoea.
“Sorbitol, an ingredient used in sugar-free chewing gum, if taken in large amount, has been linked to gastrointestinal problems.”
Nwosu is of the First Diagnostic and Laboratory, Surulere, Lagos State.