A widely embraced habit, chewing sugarless gum can actually help improve your oral health. Chewing gum causes your mouth to produce more saliva, which helps keep it clean. Harmful bacteria that feed off food particles in your mouth secrete an acid that contributes to tooth decay. Because saliva helps wash away food particles and neutralizes acid, chewing gum can protect against cavities.
Fun Facts about Chewing Gum
In the spirit of this simple, cavity-preventing home remedy, those of us at Calcagno Family and Cosmetic Dentistry put together a list of interesting facts about chewing gum. You might be surprised at just how popular chewing gum has been throughout the centuries.
- While chewing gum as we know it today is a relatively new invention, people throughout the ages used various natural materials in the same way. The ancient Greeks chewed on resin from the bark of Mastic trees. Similarly, Native Americans chewed on the resin from Spruce trees.
- State of Maine Spruce Wax was the first commercial form of chewing gum, introduced by John B. Curtis in 1848. Paraffin wax eventually replaced Spruce in the 1850s.
- Ohio dentist William F. Semple used chewing gum for jaw exercise and gum stimulation in the 1860s. In 1869, the same year Semple received the first chewing gum patent, a physician claimed chewing gum would “exhaust the salivary glands and cause the intestines to stick together.” This marked the beginning of a debate over the effects of chewing gum on oral health.
- Chewing gum saw widespread popularity growth during the Second World War, when American soldiers bartered with and presented it as gifts in Europe, Africa, and Asia.
- The United States alone sells over $2 billion worth of gum a year. Worldwide, more than $5 billion worth of gum is sold a year. The average American chews about 182 sticks of gum every year.
- Sugarless chewing gum, the kind we recommend you chew, first became available in the 1950s.
Schedule an Appointment
Chewing sugarless gum can help prevent cavities, but the habit should not replace more important oral hygiene practices. Remember to brush your teeth twice daily, floss once a day, and maintain regular six-month dental cleanings with your Rochester dentist.
For more information about how you can protect your teeth, or to schedule an appointment with Dr. Calcagno, please call our Rochester dentist office at (507) 281-3659. We serve patients from Rochester, Red Wing, St. Charles, Winona, Farmington, and the surrounding communities.