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Chewing gum to prevent cavities
The results of studies reveal that dental caries continue to be among the health disorders that most frequently affect the population worldwide as mentioned in the Global Burden of Disease Study 2017. In turn, the World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that 2.3 billion people worldwide have dental caries in their teeth and 530 million children suffer from caries in their baby teeth. Because of the statistics, alternatives are sought to prevent tooth decay. In fact, recently, chewing gum has been chosen as an excellent alternative to traditional oral prevention measures in different countries – with good results.
WHAT ARE DENTAL CARIES?
The World Health Organization (WHO) tells us that dental caries are produced by the formation of bacterial plaque that adheres to the dental surface of the teeth due to various factors: the ingestion of foods and beverages containing free sugars or carbohydrates, the production of acids by microorganisms and/or the presence of a susceptible tooth. Insufficient fluoride topication and inadequate oral hygiene are related causes.
HOW CAN WE PREVENT DENTAL CARIES?
Dental caries are one of the most prevalent oral diseases worldwide, especially among the pediatric population, which is why we seek the practice of different habits. We suggest following the proposed plan offered by the American Academy of Pediatrics:
- To have adequate oral health, one must maintain good oral hygiene, brushing the teeth frequently after each meal at least three times a day,especially before going to sleep. When sleeping, salivary flow decreases, increasing the probability of the formation of dental caries. Also, in addition to the use of toothpaste with an adequate proportion of fluoride, it is necessary to use dental floss to remove food debris and plaque between the teethThe use of a mouthwash to remove dental plaque that has not been removed by brushing or flossing is a great suggestion.
- Proper care of baby teeth early on: According to the age of the child, different types of care are required, among them we have the following:
- From the time the child is born until they are one year old, oral cleaning should be performed at the level of the gums, until the appearance of the first teeth. Then soft brushing should be done with a small amount of fluoridated toothpaste. The amount should be proportional to a grain of rice. Also during the child’s visit to your dentist, you can consult if he or she is a candidate for fluoride topication.
- When the child is between 12 months and 3 years old, he/she should brush his/her teeth at least twice a day both after breakfast and before going to bed. The amount of toothpaste should be proportional to a grain of rice.
- When the child is between 3 to 6 years, the amount of toothpaste increases to the size of a pea. This practice should continue at least twice a day.
- Prevent the child from sleeping with a bottle or ingesting food in bed since in addition to avoiding a choking risk, it reduces the exposure of sugars due to the decrease in salivary fluid that occurs while sleeping.
- Avoid the regular consumption of sugary foods such as candies, cookies, among others.
- Limit the consumption of juices during meals.
- Use sugar-free chewing gum, preferably made with xylitol, mannitol or sorbitol.
- The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that children have their first dental visit at the age of 12 months to establish proper oral health habits, as well as to get a timely diagnosis. This will help to get the child used to dental visits.
- Periodic visits at least twice a year.
CAN CHEWING GUM BE INCLUDED AS A FOR OF DENTAL CARIES PREVENTION?
The first studies related to the use of chewing gum in dentistry were reported in the 1970’s. Today many dentists recommend chewing gum for the prevention of dental caries.
In Industrialized countries, a decrease in the prevalence of dental caries in school children has been observed over the last decades. This decrease is due to the application of preventive strategies such as the correct control of bacterial plaque, the application of fluoride, and, additionally, the use of chewing gum as a preventive measure. In fact, the later has been frequently observed
The American Dental Association (ADA) has included the consumption of chewing gum containing xylitol, sorbitol, mannitol or other polyols along with adequate oral hygiene as a measure to reduce dental caries. It should be noted that the approximate time that research has demonstrated to be necessary for the reduction of dental caries with chewing gum consumption is 20 minutes after each meal.
CHEWING GUMS WITH XYLITOL, SORBITOL AND MANNITOL?
Xylitol, sorbitol and mannitol are all natural sugar alcohols that can be incorporated as sugar substitutes. They are commonly used in both beverages and foods, including chewing gum. The use of xylitol is even approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the World Health Organization, and also the European Scientific Committee on Food.
The consumption of chewing gum helps to stimulate a greater secretion of salivary fluid. In that saliva an important factor in the prevention of dental caries since it has self-cleaning properties together with the muscles of the tongue, cheeks and lips for the elimination of bacterial plaque, it helps in balancing the pH of the mouth, changing the acid medium caused by food to a neutral pH. fluid also has antimicrobial action and a tooth remineralization capacity That is why the consumption of chewing gum is a preventive measure against dental caries.
Studies in various countries have shown that Xylitol has proven remineralization properties and prevents tooth decay. In fact, dental associations such as that of Finland and others see it as a preventive measure. . Likewise, the U.S. National Institute of Health presented a report promoting the use of chili peppers with polyols such as Xylitol, sorbitol, and mannitol as further a preventive measure against dental caries.
It is worth mentioning that research indicates that the simple fact of enjoying chewing gum after each meal (even without sugar-free elements) reduces the prevalence of dental caries.However, consuming chewing gum, even if it does not contain any type of sugar, does not replace the use of a toothbrush and toothpaste, as well as mouthwash and dental floss, since traditional oral hygiene is indispensable.
If you have any questions about this topic or any other, please feel free to contact or visit us at Channel Island Family Dental.
At Channel Island Family Dental we will be attentive to your visit to make a timely diagnosis. In addition, our dentists in Oxnard, Santa Paula, Ventura, Newbury Park o Port Hueneme will be able to guide you to the best treatment to bring back your best smile.
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