Oral Health And Chewing Gum FAQs
1.Does chewing gum cause Temporomandibular joint disorders?
Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders are a cluster of related conditions affecting the masticatory muscles, the TMJ and associated structures. Around 1 in 10 people in the general population have symptoms and signs of TMJ disorders. The level of disorders of the temporomandibular joint and muscles of mastication and how people respond to them vary widely and the causes of TMJ disorders are not fully understood. Trauma, malocclusion and bruxism have been implicated but evidence is weak and only a small proportion of people with these disorders develop TMJ disorders.
There have also been suggestions that psychological factors are involved but, while they may be exacerbating or maintaining factors, they are not likely to be causal. Research has found no evidence to suggest a causal link between gum chewing and TMJ disorders.
2.What happens to gum that is swallowed?
Gum is not designed to be swallowed. However, if it is, it simply passes through the gastrointestinal system within a few days, similar to roughage.
3.Are ingredients in sugar-free gum bad for one’s health?
Chewing gum is made of five basic ingredients – sweeteners, corn syrup, softeners, flavors and gum base. All of the ingredients used in Wrigley’s products are safe for consumption and meet high domestic and international food regulations.
4.Can chewing sugar-free gum help with weight loss?
Certain studies have suggested that some people may experience reduced desire to snack between meals when chewing sugar-free gum. However, there is no specific evidence to suggest a correlation between chewing sugar-free gum and the achievement or maintenance of a healthy weight.
5.Is it safe to chew sugar-free gum while wearing braces or dentures?
All Wrigley’s chewing gums are now specially formulated to stick even less to most dental work and teeth. However, there is no clinical evidence to support Wrigley’s sugar-free gum as the most non-stick gum for denture wearers. It is advised that patients try various Wrigley sugar-free brands and formats to establish which feels best for them.
6.Does sugar-free gum provide relief for patients with xerostomia?
There have been a number of studies that have shown that chewing gum increases salivary flow in patients with xerostomia (subjective feeling of dryness throughout the mouth) of varying etiology. Research suggests that in xerostomic patients, the initial stimulated salivary flow rate while chewing sugar-free gum is seven times greater than the unstimulated flow rate. Chewing sugar-free gum has been shown to be one of the most preferred treatments for xerostomia.
7.Is there an association between chewing gum and bruxism?
Sleep bruxism is characterized by the grinding or clenching of the teeth during sleep. The cause of bruxism remains unclear, but it has been associated with several factors including tooth interference, psychosocial and environmental factors. It has been suggested that there is a link between chewing gum and bruxism, and several consumer health websites recommend that patients suffering from bruxism should stop chewing gum. Whilst there is no clinical evidence to support the link – nor the recommendations to stop chewing gum – it is, nonetheless, widely accepted that sufferers should avoid all unnecessary chewing in order not to exacerbate their condition.
The latest research on sugar-free gum
Two recent systematic reviews published by King’s College have concluded that the regular use of polyol combination chewing gum leads to a reduction in dental caries and is an effective addition to oral health regimens.