Chew on this: The Benefits of Chewing Gum and Why Xylitol is Awesome!
I’ll admit, I am an avid gum chewer. Having a pack of Orbit peppermint flavored gum wherever I go is just as necessary as having my wallet and phone. So if you are like me and have a piece of gum in your mouth whenever you are not eating, then you might have wondered, is chewing gum good for my teeth? And my answer to you is…yes, but it depends.
It all comes down to the type of gum you chew. Obviously everyone has heard that chewing gum containing sugar can increase your chances of developing a cavity…duh. So always go for the most beneficial choice, sugar-free gum! Its advantages include:
- Cleans your teeth after a meal
- Stimulates saliva flow (necessary for protective function in the mouth!)
- Prevents tooth decay
- Reduces plaque build-up and gingivitis
- Freshens breath (always a plus)
Now doesn’t that sound great? Well just wait, it gets better. If you look at the list of ingredients on your sugar-free gum you will see fancy words that are hard to pronounce like sorbitol, maltitol, mannitol, and xylitol. These are not just processed chemicals infused into your product like that Oreo you just ate, they are sugar alcohols that naturally sweeten the gum and give it flavor. Recent studies have revealed that these sweeteners might add some extra benefits to your sugar-free gum, xylitol in particular. I’ll explain….
So, tooth decay happens when bacteria in your mouth consume the sugars we eat and produce an acid that can eat away at our enamel. Xylitol is a sweetener that cannot be broken down by the bacteria in your mouth. It constipates them so they are unable to produce the harmful acid that attacks your teeth. Since the cavity-causing bacteria are unable to digest the xylitol, their growth is greatly reduced and it gives advantage to the “less bad” bacteria in your mouth. Pretty sweet stuff! (pun intended)
So go out there and get yourself some of that gum with xylitol on the label. Your teeth will thank you!
If you are looking for a dentist in the Triangle Area, give DurhamDDS a call! We offer a generous helping of dental services for patients of all ages. To set up an appointment call our office at 919-286-0779 or visit durhamdds.com for more information.
Is That Nervous Habit Causing You To Bite Off More Than You Can Chew?
There are a lot of threats towards your oral health out there, enough to stress you out and make you want to bite your nails. However, among all nervous habits, biting your nails is the worst for your oral health! It has been estimated that about half of all humans bite their nails, and at ten fingernails per person, that’s a lot of fingernails being chewed on everyday! But how can a harmless nail bite here or there be bad for your teeth? Here’s why:
- Nail biting can wear down your teeth. Uneven biting surfaces, enamel wear, and even a chipped tooth are all possibilities if you are a nail biter. Your teeth need a break between meals, but biting on your nails all day essentially causes your teeth to never get this break! In return, your teeth can become misaligned because of all the stress. So, give them that much needed break!
- Nail biting can break front tooth fillings you spent many dollars on! Those front tooth fillings are fragile. They may look perfect but they stand no chance against nail biting!
- Nail biting is bad for your jaw. It can contribute to Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) disorder, which can manifest as jaw pain, headaches, and locking and popping of the jaw. Also, according to the Academy of General Dentistry (AGD), people who bite their nails are at a higher risk for bruxism (learn more about Bruxism HERE)
- Nail biting is bad for braces. If you have braces you already know how much pressure your teeth are under. Biting your nails only adds to that pressure, stressing your teeth out, weakening them, and harming your orthodontic treatment and overall bite.
- Nail biting is gross. Nails are filled with dirt and germs. Even if you are a compulsive hand-sanitizer, your hands are still one of the most germ-laden areas of your body (and your nails are even worse!). Biting your nails exposes you to illness causing germs to transfer from your hands to your mouth.
- Nail biting is expensive. According to the AGD, people who bite their nails pay an average of $4,000 in additional dental bills over their lifetime. Is it worth it?
So I think its time to kick the habit to the curb. Your teeth, nails, immune system, and pocketbook will thank you.
Let’s kick it together! At DurhamDDS, we offer a generous helping of dental services for patients of all ages in the Triangle area. Call us at 919-286-0779 to set up an appointment or visit our website at durhamdds.com for more information. Did you find this article helpful? Please +1 us if you are a gmail-er or like us on Facebook at the top of the article! Thanks.
Is CPAP Drying Your Mouth Out?
The most common medical intervention for Obstructive Sleep Apnea Syndrome (OSAS) is the use of a CPAP machine (nasal type). However, CPAP mouth dryness that may occur along with the therapy has been one of the main causes for patients to kick the machine to the curb! Mouth dryness is a sign of air leaking from the CPAP, from sleeping with your mouth open, or from the pressure of the air being pumped in.
If you use a CPAP and are currently contemplating whether or not the sleeping relief is worth the dry mouth…then contemplate no longer! There are many effective ways to prevent and treat dry mouth from CPAP so you can get a great night sleep and wake up not feeling like you need to chug a gallon of water!
Here is what you can do:
Humidifiers: heated humidification can help prevent CPAP! It keeps the air moist, so if you are a mouth breather the air is not drying out your mouth. (Many CPAP machines now have a built in humidifier for this reason)
Drinking Water & Dental Rinses: keep a glass of water by your bedside. If you wake up in the middle of the night, take some sips. The hard part is that you may have a mask all strapped up over your face. Try a “Bent tip squeeze bottle” that you can easily slide under your mask. Search Amazon for this bottle or visit us, we have them. We also have patients use ACT Dry Mouth Rinse in these and give a little bit all night long. They love it!
CPAP dry mouth medications: XyliMelts, Biotene Oral Balance Moisturizing Gel (also comes in a mouth spray), Cann-ease (gel for dry nose).
Use a full mask: It doesn’t matter if you have mouth leaks because the air is still contained within the mask. You will still get CPAP therapy whether you breathe through your nose or mouth. Dry mouth may still occur, but the air pressure in the mask will be maintained.
Keep your mouth closed during sleep: Are you a mouth breather when you sleep? Keeping your mouth closed while you sleep can make a huge difference with your dry mouth. Here are some things you can try:
- Use a chinstrap. Keeping the jaw “up” seals the mouth by also keeping the tongue up. The tongue allows for an airtight seal inside the mouth. You can buy a chinstrap or make your own! Just cut the leg off a panty hose tight, put your chin in the middle and tie the ends above your head.
- Learn Tongue Position. Keeping your tongue positioned at the top of your mouth will help prevent mouth leaks by stopping air from getting out, thus no more CPAP dry mouth. You can practice tongue positioning during the day! Seal your lips and create a small suction inside your mouth. Push your tongue forward against your teeth and up to the roof of your mouth. The suction should hold your tongue.
If you are experiencing dry mouth from CPAP, talk to your dentist for more recommendations on how to find some relief. Also understand you are at much greater risk for cavities! Looking for a dentist in the triangle area? Give DurhamDDS a call! We offer a generous helping of dental services for patients of all ages. To set up an appointment call our office at 919-286-0779 or visit our website at durhamdds.com for more information.