Can sugar-free gum really reduce tooth decay on a global scale?
It sounds too good to be true but apparently chewing sugar free gum could have a significant effect in reversing the rising cost of oral health around the world. A recent study commissioned by the Wm Wrigley Jr. Company and published in the American Journal of Dentistry in April this year, found that chewing just one additional piece of sugar-free gum on a daily basis could reduce the costs of fixing tooth decay by up to a staggering £3.3 million.
NHS could save up £8.2 million pounds if 12-year-olds chew gum!
It’s not the first study to point to the value of sugar-free gum. In 2016, researchers claimed that the NHS could save up to £8.2 million pounds annually if 12 year olds increased the amount of time they spent chewing gum. The costs of poor oral health and tooth decay are amongst the most severe drains on health funds so anything that can be done to tackle the problem is likely to be popular with NHS bosses.
The fact is that chewing the gum is an excellent way of stimulating saliva and balancing the pH levels in the mouth so it’s a great way of tackling tooth decay. A piece of gum in between meals can stop the bacteria that cause decay and will often be recommended by dentists.
Not a replacement for brushing
Although the results are impressive and the potential savings huge, gum shouldn’t be seen as a replacement for the more well established good oral health practices. Everyone should brush their teeth at least twice day (ideally morning and last thing at night) and maintain a regular appointment with the dentist. Sugar-free gum should be viewed as a great addition after mealtimes to complement an already well-established oral health regime.