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Is it true that chewing gum is good for oral hygiene and has other benefits as well?


Yes. It is widely accepted that chewing sugar-free gums is beneficial to oral hygiene. Additionally, the ingredients in sugar-free gum are not fermentable by oral bacteria, an important factor in the development of cavities.

Saliva is your body's natural defense against tooth decay. It contains buffering agents that help neutralize the acid that causes cavities. Chewing gum stimulates the production of saliva, which helps to neutralize acids after only 20 minutes of chewing.


1. Is it true that chewing gum is good for oral hygiene?

Yes. It is widely accepted that chewing sugar-free gums is beneficial to oral hygiene. Additionally, the ingredients in sugar-free gum are not fermentable by oral bacteria, an important factor in the development of cavities.

Saliva is your body's natural defense against tooth decay. It contains buffering agents that help neutralize the acid that may contribute to the development of cavities. Chewing gum stimulates the production of saliva, which helps to neutralize acids after only 20 minutes of chewing.

 

2. What are the oral care benefits of chewing gum?

There is an extensive body of scientific evidence that proves that chewing sugar free gum provides clear functional oral care benefits. Sugar free chewing gum stimulates saliva up to ten times the resting rate, thus alleviating the discomfort of a dry mouth as well as neutralizing and buffering plaque acids. This supports tooth enamel and helps to reduce risk factors associated with the development of tooth decay.

 

3. Are the oral health benefits of sugar-free chewing gum backed up by science?

Yes. The oral health benefits of sugar-free chewing gum are supported by numerous published studies.

In the European Union (EU), a positive list of permitted health claims on foods was published in May 2012 (Regulation (EC) n°432/2012). Among these permitted health claims based on generally accepted science, four claims are specific to sugar free chewing gum dental health benefits and additional health claims relate to ingredients used in chewing gum (such as Calcium, Fluoride or Vitamin C).

The four approved claims specifically relating to sugar free chewing gum are -

  • Sugar-free chewing gum contributes to the maintenance of tooth mineralization;
  • Sugar-free chewing gum contributes to the neutralization of plaque acids;
  • Sugar-free chewing gum contributes to the reduction of oral dryness; and,
  • Sugar-free chewing gum with carbamide neutralizes plaque acids more effectively than sugar-free chewing gums without carbamide.

Other approved claims relating to ingredients that may be added to sugar-free chewing gum are -

Fluoride:

  • Fluoride contributes to the maintenance of tooth mineralization

Calcium:

  • Calcium is needed for the maintenance of normal teeth

Vitamin C:

  • Vitamin C contributes to normal collagen formation for the normal function of teeth

 

In addition, other claims referring to disease risk reduction have also been approved at the EU level for sugar free chewing gum based on specific dossiers submitted through individual decisions by the European Commission and the 27 Member States, as follows:

Chewing gum sweetened with 100% xylitol:

  • Chewing gum sweetened with 100% xylitol has been shown to reduce dental plaque. High content/level of dental plaque is a risk factor in the development of caries in children

Sugar-free chewing gum and tooth demineralization:

  • Sugar-free chewing gum helps reduce tooth demineralization. Tooth demineralization is a risk factor in the development of dental caries.

Sugar-free chewing gum and plaque acids:

  • Sugar-free chewing gum helps neutralise plaque acids. Plaque acids are a risk factor in the development of dental caries

 

4. Has chewing gum's role in supporting oral health been independently recognized?

Yes. The FDI World Dental Federation and numerous national dental associations around the world recognize that chewing sugar free gum supports dental health.

 

5. Have some of the ICGA’s health claims on sugar-free chewing gum already received support from EFSA?

Yes. EFSA has issued the following opinions:

  • Four ICGA health claims received a positive opinion from EFSA and were found supported by sound science. They relate to the neutralisation of plaque acids, the maintenance of tooth mineralization, the reduction of oral dryness, and fluoride and maintenance of tooth mineralization;
  • Three health claims received a positive opinion from EFSA and were found supported by sound science. They relate to risk factor reduction in relation to dental caries. 

EFSA scientific opinions are reported in the EU Register on Nutrition and Health Claims. More about the EU Register.

 

6. Are there other benefits of chewing gum?

Emerging science suggests that chewing gum provides additional health-related benefits, including support for diet and weight management, focus, concentration and alertness, and stress management.


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