If you really enjoy chewing gum, you could be creating additional dental problems for yourself. Modern chewing gums are full of sugar, artificial colors and flavors which can contribute to tooth decay and gum disease. There are alternatives, including sugarless varieties approved by dentists and the American Dental Association. Here are a few ways you can continue your gum-chewing habit without putting your dental health at risk.
Benefits of Chewing Gum
Chewing gum can help with your dental hygiene in a couple of ways:
- Chewing stimulates the production of saliva which washes bacteria off of your teeth.
- Chewing gum can freshen your breath.
The following alternatives have these benefits. Some of these offer other health benefits when you chew them.
Fresh ginger can be cut up into bite-size pieces and used just like chewing gum. It will freshen your breath, calm stomach distress, including nausea, and help with your digestion. You can also swallow the ginger when you're done chewing it and your body will digest it normally.
2. Licorice Root
First peel and dry this root then cut it up into bite-sized pieces. Keep it in a sealed bag and chew like gum. This root can reduce acid reflux, dry up canker sores and calm peptic ulcers.
3. Dried Apples
Take a little chewing break with dried apple chips. Buy or make your own to always have a supply on hand. If you dry them until they are still chewy, but not yet crunchy, you'll have a longer-chewing snack. If you buy your apple snacks, make sure they don't have added sugar. Fresh Bites Daily suggests Gala or Empire apples for a tasty, dried apple snack.
4. Peppermint and Parsley
If fresh breath is the main reason you chew gum, try one of these herbs. Both will cleanse your breath after a meal or snack containing garlic, onion or other pungent ingredients.
5. Nuts and Seeds
If keeping your mouth busy is most important, then these natural snacks will do that and give you other health benefits. Unsalted sunflower seeds contain omega-3 fatty acids which give your immune system a boost. They also help you keep your good and bad cholesterol balanced. Pistachios are also high in fiber and fatty acid. Limit yourself on these snacks, though, as they do contain high amounts of fat.
When chewing gum is important to you, consider one or more of these alternatives. You'll have fewer trips to your dentist while still satisfying the urge to chew something throughout the day.