Bloomberg News (4/9, Giammona) reports on difficulties the chewing gum industry currently faces, with sales down 15 percent to $3.5 billion since 2009 and the lingering feeling among industry insiders that, as one analyst put it, “gum is stuck.” The article primarily focuses on the product development and marketing efforts companies have recently undertaken in order to increase sales. Bloomberg News notes that several brands had long promoted their sugarless gum as “cavity-fighters,” used slogans noting dentists’ recommendations to chew sugarless gum, and even displayed the American Dental Association’s seal of acceptance in attempts to widen the product’s appeal.
Meanwhile, in his column for Good Times Weekly (CA) (4/9), Andrew Steingrube writes that “chewing gum can provide a myriad of health benefits for not only the mouth, but also the mind.” Steingrube says that “dentists approve of the stuff, too,” and according to the ADA, “Clinical studies have shown that chewing sugarless gum for 20 minutes following meals can help prevent tooth decay.” Steingrube goes on to explore the historical precedent of chewing gum for health benefits, eventually concluding that “the simple act of chewing sugarless gum a couple of times a day, especially after meals, is sure to benefit both the body and mind.”
My word of caution: too much sugarless gum can cause problems, such as diarrhea (due to the sugar alcohols present) or jaw pain/headache pain from overuse of the jaw muscles, especially in people who already are prone to headaches and jaw pain.
You should also know that research is changing their answers about xylitol (a common sweetener, also a sugar alcohol) once believed to alleviate decay issues. This is being shown to be not true.
Check in often on our website for updated information and also our Facebook page, http://www.facebook.com/littlerockdentist.