Is Chewing Gum Bad for You? The Truth About Teeth & Health

Is Chewing Gum Bad for You
Is Chewing Gum Bad for You

Do you ever wonder if chewing gum is bad for your dental health? Well, the truth is, it’s a bit of a mixed bag for dentists. Chewing gum can have both positive and negative effects on your teeth and overall health. On the one hand, the act of chewing stimulates saliva production, which helps neutralize acids and prevents caries. However, not all gums are created equal and some types may contain ingredients that can be harmful, especially for those with xerostomia. It’s important to be mindful of the sweet taste and ingredients in the gum you choose.

When it comes to your oral health, dentists emphasize the importance of considering the impact of chewing gum. While sugar-free gums are generally better for dental health as they don’t contribute to tooth decay, certain gum bases or additives could potentially harm tooth enamel over time. So, while chewing gum can provide some health benefits like freshening breath and promoting saliva flow, it’s crucial to make informed choices about the products we chew in order to prevent caries and combat dry mouth. Let’s delve deeper into this topic and explore how chewing gum affects our teeth and overall well-being.

Negative Effects: Dental Decay, Artificial Sweeteners

Chewing gum can have negative effects on your teeth, such as dental decay and bad breath. One potential culprit is artificial sweeteners like aspartame.

  • Chewing sugary gum can contribute to dental decay and harm teeth. When we chew gum, especially those loaded with sugar, harmful bacteria feed on the sugars and produce acids that attack tooth enamel, leading to tooth decay or dental caries. This can be detrimental to oral health and may require fillings.

  • Some chewing gums containing artificial sweeteners like aspartame or sucralose may have negative impacts on dental health. These sweeteners are used as sugar substitutes to provide a sweet taste without the added calories. However, regular consumption of these artificial sweeteners through chewing gum may lead to dental caries and bad breath. Research suggests that they could potentially disrupt our gut microbiome and affect metabolic processes, causing side effects.

It’s important to note that chewing gum is not all bad for dental health; there are benefits too. For example, it can help stimulate saliva production, which aids in digestion and helps neutralize acids that cause dental erosion. Sugar-free gums containing xylitol have been shown to reduce the risk of dental caries by inhibiting the growth of harmful bacteria.

However, if you choose to chew gum regularly, it’s essential to be mindful of its potential side effects on your oral health. Chewing gum can have positive health benefits, such as freshening breath and preventing dry mouth. However, excessive gum chewing can also lead to dental caries. To minimize any negative impact on your teeth, it’s important to maintain good oral hygiene habits.

  • Opt for sugar-free gums with natural sweeteners like xylitol to prevent dental caries and bad breath, and protect your teeth from the harmful effects of sugary food.

  • Limit your consumption of chewing gum containing artificial sweeteners.

  • Maintain good oral hygiene practices such as brushing your teeth twice a day and flossing regularly to prevent caries. Avoid sugary gum, especially if you are a frequent gum chewer, as it can contribute to tooth decay.

  • Visit your dentist regularly for check-ups and cleanings.

By being aware of the effects of chewing gum on teeth and taking necessary precautions, people can still enjoy chewing gum without compromising dental health or overall well-being. It is important to recognize the potential stress that chewing gum can cause on teeth and to follow the guidelines set by the ADA for maintaining good oral hygiene.

Research Findings: J Appl Oral Sci, J Am Dent Assoc Studies

  • Excessive chewing of gum can lead to tooth wear and damage in people, as studies published in the Journal of Applied Oral Science have shown. This can be particularly problematic for individuals who experience stress, as they may be more prone to teeth-related issues. It is important to maintain good oral hygiene and consult with a dentist, such as a member of the American Dental Association (ADA), for guidance on maintaining healthy teeth.

Is Chewing Gum Bad for You
  • The research conducted by the Journal of the American Dental Association reveals that sugar-free gum with xylitol can help reduce the risk of dental caries in people.

  • Animal studies mentioned in a systematic review published in a dental journal highlighted the impact of chewing habits on tooth enamel. This includes the effects of sugary gum, xylitol gum, and gum base. Additionally, the review discussed the benefits of using xylitol gum as a sugar-free alternative.

  • Saliva, an important component of oral health according to the American Dental Association (ADA), plays a crucial role in maintaining a healthy mouth. However, excessive gum chewing can negatively impact saliva flow.

  • A study published in an academic journal found that prolonged gum chewing, especially with ADA-approved gum, could potentially strain the jaw joint.

  • Chewing sugar-free gum stimulates saliva production, which aids in maintaining oral health.

  • According to dentists, regular gum chewing without proper oral hygiene practices may contribute to dental fillings.

Potential Risks: Xylitol, Artificial Sweeteners

Xylitol is a common ingredient in sugar-free chewing gums et al and has been associated with a reduced risk of tooth decay. Excessive consumption of xylitol-containing products et al may cause digestive issues such as bloating or diarrhea.

Artificial sweeteners used in some chewing gums have raised concerns about their potential impact on long-term health. These sweeteners, like aspartame and sugar alcohols such as sorbitol, are sugar substitutes that provide sweetness without the calories.

Some potential risks associated with artificial sweeteners in chewing gum include:

  • Excessive intake of xylitol gum, an artificial sweetener, can cause digestive problems such as bloating and diarrhea. It’s important to be mindful of the amount of free gum consumed to avoid gastrointestinal discomfort.

  • Impact on blood sugar levels: Xylitol gum, a type of free gum, does not raise blood sugar levels like regular sugar does. However, it may still trigger an insulin response in some individuals.

  • Cravings and overeating: Some studies suggest that consuming xylitol gum, an artificial sweetener, may increase cravings for sugary foods, leading to overeating. However, there are alternatives such as free gum that can help curb these cravings.

  • Long-term health effects: While research is ongoing, there are concerns that prolonged use of artificial sweeteners could potentially have negative effects on overall health.

It’s important to note that the risks associated with xylitol and artificial sweeteners vary depending on the individual and their specific health conditions. If you have any concerns or pre-existing health issues, it’s always best to consult with a healthcare professional before making any dietary changes.

Excessive Chewing: Jaw Strain, TMJ Disorder

Excessive gum chewing can strain the jaw muscles and lead to discomfort or pain. Frequent jaw movements from prolonged chewing may contribute to temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder symptoms. It is important to chew gum in moderation to avoid overexertion on the jaw joints and muscles.

Chewing gum excessively can have negative effects on your oral health. The constant motion of the jaw can lead to xerostomia, commonly known as dry mouth. This condition reduces saliva production, which is essential for maintaining a healthy mouth and preventing dental issues such as dental erosion and caries.

Moreover, excessive gum chewing puts additional stress on the jaw joints, potentially causing jaw pain or exacerbating existing TMJ disorders. If you experience persistent discomfort or clicking sounds when opening or closing your mouth, it could be a sign of TMJ problems.

To prevent these complications, consider limiting your gum chewing habits. Moderation is key. If you are already experiencing symptoms of TMJ disorder or have pre-existing jaw issues, it may be advisable to consult with a dentist or healthcare professional for guidance.

Digestive Issues: Sweet Cravings, Gastrointestinal Problems

Chewing gum can have some effects on your digestive system, including sweet cravings and gastrointestinal problems. Here are a few things to consider:

  • Chewing gum with artificial sweeteners may not satisfy your sweet cravings as effectively as you might hope. In fact, it could potentially lead to overeating sugary foods. So if you’re looking for a way to curb your appetite or reduce your sugar intake, chewing gum might not be the best solution.

  • Some individuals may experience gastrointestinal problems when chewing gum, especially if it contains sugar alcohols like sorbitol. These problems can include gas and bloating, which can be uncomfortable and inconvenient.

  • If you already have pre-existing digestive conditions, such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) or inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), you should be cautious when consuming chewing gum. It’s important to pay attention to how your body reacts and whether it worsens any symptoms you may already have.

Chewing gum is often seen as a quick fix for various issues like bad breath or an oral fixation. However, it’s essential to recognize that there can be potential downsides.

So next time you reach for that pack of gum, keep in mind the possible impact on your digestive system. It’s always a good idea to listen to your body and make choices that support its well-being.


Chewing gum can have negative effects on your oral health, such as dental decay and the use of artificial sweeteners. Research findings from studies published in J Appl Oral Sci and J Am Dent Assoc highlight the potential risks associated with chewing gum, including the use of xylitol and other artificial sweeteners. Excessive chewing can also lead to jaw strain and TMJ disorder, while digestive issues may arise due to sweet cravings and gastrointestinal problems.

To ensure your well-being, it is important to be aware of these potential drawbacks. While chewing gum can provide temporary enjoyment and freshen breath, it is advisable to consume it in moderation. Consider opting for sugar-free alternatives that utilize natural sweeteners like stevia or erythritol.

Remember that maintaining good oral hygiene practices such as regular brushing, flossing, and dental check-ups are essential for a healthy smile. If you have concerns about the impact of chewing gum on your dental health or overall well-being, consult with a dental professional who can provide personalized advice based on your specific needs.


Is there any type of chewing gum that is considered safe for consumption?

While no type of chewing gum is completely risk-free, sugar-free options that are made with natural sweeteners like stevia or erythritol tend to be a better choice than those containing artificial sweeteners or excessive amounts of sugar.

Can chewing gum help improve bad breath?

Yes, some types of chewing gum can help freshen breath by stimulating saliva production and masking odors temporarily. However, it's important to address the underlying causes of bad breath rather than relying solely on gum as a solution.

Will excessive chewing lead to jaw problems?

Excessive or prolonged chewing can strain the jaw muscles and potentially contribute to temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder. It's best to chew gum in moderation and take breaks if you experience any discomfort.

Does chewing gum contribute to tooth decay?

Chewing gum that contains sugar can increase the risk of tooth decay, as bacteria in the mouth feed on the sugars and produce acids that erode tooth enamel. Opting for sugar-free gum can help minimize this risk.

Are there any digestive issues associated with chewing gum?

Chewing gum can lead to sweet cravings and overconsumption of sugary foods, which may contribute to gastrointestinal problems such as bloating or discomfort. It's important to be mindful of your overall diet and not rely solely on gum for satisfying cravings.

Can chewing gum replace regular oral hygiene practices?

No, chewing gum should not replace regular oral hygiene practices such as brushing, flossing, and dental check-ups. These practices are essential for maintaining good oral health and preventing dental issues.

Is it safe for children to chew gum?

It is generally safe for children above a certain age to chew gum, but parental supervision is advised. Ensure they are old enough to understand proper chewing habits and avoid swallowing the gum.


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