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Best Gum for Teeth: The Best and Worst Choices for Oral Health

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When it comes to maintaining oral health, many dentists now recommend chewing gum as a way to reduce the bacteria that cause cavities. However, not all gums are created equal. In this article, we will explore the benefits of chewing gum, the importance of choosing the right gum, and the best gums to promote oral health while avoiding potential risks.

Pür Gum

Fights Cavities
Fresh Taste
Aspartame Free

Orbit Gum

Freshens Breath
Lots of Flavors
Get it Anywhere

XyloBurst Gum

Promotes Oral Health
No Aftertaste
GMO Free

The Effectiveness of Gum in Reducing Bacteria

Numerous studies have demonstrated the tremendous effectiveness of chewing gum in trapping and removing bacteria from the oral cavity. Research has shown that regular gum chewing can contribute to the maintenance of oral health by reducing the risk of oral diseases such as caries and periodontal disease.

One key factor to consider when choosing gum is its sugar content. Sugar-free gum is highly recommended, as it not only prevents the growth of bacteria but also helps reduce cavities and plaque formation. Among the sugar-free gums, those containing xylitol have been found to be particularly beneficial in reducing the bacteria responsible for cavities and plaque buildup.

Choosing the Best Gums for Oral Health

When it comes to selecting the best gum for oral health, several brands stand out for their effectiveness. Here are some top recommendations:

  1. Pür Gum: Pür gum is a popular choice known for its oral health benefits. It contains xylitol, which actively works against cavity-causing bacteria while providing a refreshing taste.
  2. Orbit Gum: Orbit gum is another popular brand that offers sugar-free options. By choosing Orbit gum, you can enjoy the benefits of xylitol while freshening your breath and promoting oral hygiene.
  3. XyloBurst Gum: XyloBurst gum is another excellent option that incorporates xylitol. With its high xylitol content, it helps to prevent cavities and supports good oral hygiene.
  4. Xylitol Gum: As the name suggests, xylitol gum is specifically formulated to combat cavities. It contains a significant amount of xylitol, which inhibits the growth of bacteria and promotes a healthier mouth.
  5. Peppersmith Gum: Peppersmith gum not only contains xylitol but also uses natural ingredients and flavors. It provides a refreshing chewing experience while contributing to oral health.
  6. Glee Gum: If you prefer a gum made from natural ingredients, Glee Gum is an excellent choice. It is free from artificial additives and sweetened with xylitol for added oral health benefits.

Gums to Avoid for Maintaining Oral Health

While many sugar-free gums can be beneficial for oral health, it's important to be aware of certain types of gum that may have potential drawbacks. Fruit-flavored sugar-free gums, for example, may contain higher levels of acidic ingredients that can be harmful to teeth. Acidic additives in gum can contribute to the erosion of tooth enamel, leading to dental problems over time.

A study has shown that while sugar-free confections like gum have properties that reduce decay-causing bacteria, those with acidic additives can actually erode tooth enamel. Therefore, it is advisable to avoid fruit-flavored sugar-free gums or any gum that contains acidic ingredients to minimize the risk of dental damage.

Moderation in Gum Chewing

As with many things in life, moderation is key when it comes to gum chewing. While gum chewing can offer oral health benefits, it's essential to exercise moderation and not chew gum excessively or on a daily basis. Chewing gum in moderation, as part of a comprehensive oral care routine, can be a healthy habit.

By practicing moderation, you can enjoy the benefits of gum chewing without any potential negative consequences. Remember to use gum as a supplement to proper oral hygiene practices such as regular brushing, flossing, and dental check-ups.

The Science Behind Chewing Gum and Teeth Health

To better understand how chewing gum affects the bacteria in our mouths, scientists have developed ways to measure and analyze the bacteria trapped in chewed gum. They have used two methods for this purpose.

In the first method, scientists took known amounts of bacteria and chewed them into gum. Then, they processed and studied the chewed gum to count the number of colony-forming units present. They created calibration curves, which helped establish a connection between the number of bacteria found in the gum and the amount of bacteria initially chewed into it.

The second method involved using the fingers to chew a known amount of bacteria into gum. After that, the gum was dissolved in a mixture of chloroform and tris-ethylenediaminetetraacetic-acid (TE)-buffer. The TE-buffer was then examined using a technique called quantitative Polymerase Chain Reaction (qPCR) to determine the total number of bacteria. Calibration curves were created to relate the total number of bacteria to the amount initially chewed into the gum.

Using these innovative methods, researchers discovered that the highest number of bacteria trapped in chewed gum occurred during the early stages of chewing. As chewing continued, the number of bacteria gradually decreased over a span of up to 10 minutes. Moreover, the longer the chewing persisted, the more different types of bacteria were found in the gum.

These findings provide valuable insights into how gum chewing can effectively trap and remove bacteria from our mouths, contributing to better oral health.

Visualizing Trapped Bacteria in Chewed Gum

The effectiveness of gum in trapping bacteria has been further validated through visual observations using scanning-electron-microscopy. Trapped bacteria can be clearly visualized within the chewed gum, providing concrete evidence of gum's ability to capture and remove bacteria from the oral cavity.

These visualizations support the hypothesis that chewing gum can indeed trap and remove bacteria from the mouth, thus contributing to oral health.


Chewing gum, particularly sugar-free gums containing xylitol, can be an effective tool in maintaining oral health. By trapping and removing bacteria from the oral cavity, gum chewing offers potential benefits in preventing cavities and supporting good oral hygiene.

When choosing gum, opt for reputable brands that use xylitol as a sweetener, such as Pür, XyloBurst, Xylitol, Peppersmith, Glee Gum, and Orbit. Avoid fruit-flavored sugar-free gums and those with acidic additives, as they may have adverse effects on tooth enamel.

Remember to chew gum in moderation and as part of a comprehensive oral care routine. Brushing, flossing, and regular dental check-ups should always be the foundation of good oral hygiene.

Wynne Lee, MD

Dr. Wynne Lee is a physician at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), where she provides primary care.

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