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When you eat, the acids from your food and drink make your enamel more prone to damage through abrasion. To avoid this, don’t brush your teeth right after you eat (unless directed to by your dentist). So how to clean your teeth after eating? Studies have shown that chewing gum for 20 minutes after eating can help prevent cavities! Let’s talk about how this works.

First—how do cavities form? There are bacteria that live in your mouth—a LOT of bacteria, also called microflora. They come together to form a sticky film called plaque, which coats your mouth. Plaque can develop both above and below the gumline. The bacteria in the plaque feed on sugar; most food particles contain sugars that bacteria can eat. The bacteria then create an acidic byproduct that eats away at the enamel of your teeth.

Chewing on sugarless gum activates your body’s first defense against cavities: saliva. Saliva cleans the food and plaque away from teeth, washes the acids away, and fortifies the enamel itself.

You may point out that chewing sugar-sweetened gum also stimulates saliva. You’re right! However, the added sugars get spread around your mouth, feeding the very bacteria you are trying to fight. This can actually do more harm than good. Stick with sugar-free gum for a healthy, clean smile!

For more information, call Wong Dental in Covina, California, at 626-709-3332. Dr. Lin Wong and our team are here and happy to help you!