The gums give you pleasure, but its benefits are not limited with this. In addition to meet the demand for a sweet and refreshing thing, gums also provide several other advantages. Firstly, we can say that chewing process accelerates the production of salivary, which is a natural defense mechanism for your mouth.
The chewing gums give a massage to your gingiva with a tonic whitening your teeth. From the freshness of your breath to increase your concentration, making you forget smoking to relaxing you when you feel stressed and particularly ensuring dental hygiene to preventing tooth caries, it provides a wide variety of benefits.
Preventing Tooth Caries
The bacteria in the mouth survives by feeding with the wastes remaining around the teeth after meals. The bacteria sucks sugars and produces organic acids as a byproduct. Within the first five to ten minutes following the meals, this organic acid may reduce pH value in your mouth to dangerous levels for your tooth enamel. In low pH levels, the tooth enamel starts melting, opens small wounds which then turn into bigger ones and tooth caries occur as a result of consecutive acid attacks.
Including the telemetry tests carried out in Switzerland universities in Zurich (Prof. Imfeld) and Bern (Prof. Graf and Prof. Zappa) (1, 2), the clinical studies show that chewing sugar free gum after meals or snacks accelerates increasing pH level to healthy levels for the teeth. Actually, chewing gum increases salivation speed by 2.5 to 4 times. Saliva has calcium and some other elements effective in providing minerals for the tooth enamel, which was damaged with the acid attack.
Sugar free gum includes important additional characteristics in preventing tooth caries.
The formulation of sugar free gum includes polyalcohols such as sorbitol, maltitol, isomalt, mannitol and xylitol which are not fermented with the bacteria in the mouth and thus preventing the occurrence of acid.
Among the polyalcohols preventing the occurrence of Streptococcus Mutant bacteria, which are one of the most important bacteria causing tooth caries, Xylitol is the first substance featuring both active and passive anti-caries and replacing sugar.
Xylitol is available in several fruits and vegetables. Xylitol is the sweetest one among all polios. It is as sweet as sucrose, does not leave any taste in the mouth and is safe for diabetics. Xylitol contains 40% less calorie compared to sugar and therefore, its calorie value is recognized as 2,4 kcal/g for food product labels in EU and the USA. The clinical tests, which some of them are under the sponsorship of the World Health Organization, performed on hundreds of people show that regular consumption of chewing gum featuring xylitol reduces the tooth caries rate by 70%. The following table displays the results of important research projects performed on long-term benefits of xylitol substance (3, 4, 5).
As a result, chewing a sugar free gum, particularly featuring xylitol, after meals and snacks accelerates mineral gaining process for the wounds on tooth enamel and reduces the development of tooth caries. Chewing sugar free gum is the most pleasant and recommended method for protecting your dental health when you do not have the opportunity to brush your teeth.
NOTES: T. Imfeld - Interdental Plaque-pH-Telemetry. “Surface and colloid phenomena in the Oral Cavity: Methodological Aspects.” Proceedings of a workshop on saliva-dental plaque and enamel surface interaction. Editors: Frank and Leach, IRL Press Ltd., London, page 143-156, 1982. T. Imfeld - Identification of low caries risk dietary components. Monographs in oral science, 11: S. Karger, Basel 1983. Kandelman, G. Gagnona - 24-month clinical study on the occurrence and progress of tooth caries depending to consuming chewing gum featuring xylitol within the scope of school protection programs. J. Dent. Res.; 69(11); 1771. Isokangas P. et al - Chewing gums featuring xylitol in preventing tooth caries. A field study performed on kids. J. Am. Dent. Soc. 1988: 117: 315-320. Alanen, P. Isokangas, K. Gutman - Chewing gums featuring xylitol in preventing tooth caries. A field study performed on Estonian kids. Oral Epidemiology Association 2000, 28:218-24.
Stress Prevention - Concentration
It’s been proven that chewing gum is a solution for neural stress, increases the concentration and suppresses the appetite for smoking. Various scientific tests have been performed for evaluating these effects. For example, a group of smokers were divided into three groups: the first group was allowed to smoke, the second group was allowed to chew gum and the third group was not allowed to use any tool for reducing the stress. When they were exposed to an outside stress, it was seen that the smoking appetite of the group chewing gum has decreased (1). A second test has shown that chewing a gum decreases the state of sleep while working at night (2). A group of Japanese researchers has revealed, through encephalogram analyses, that chewing a gum increases various brain waves with the appearance of the aroma and consequently increases the concentration and brain functions consistently. (3, 4, 5).
NOTES: D. M. Britt; L. M. Cohen, F. L. Collings Jr. - Cigarette smoking and chewing gum: response to a laboratory-induced stressor: Health Psychology 2001; 20(5): 361-368. D. Hodoba - Chewing can relieve sleepiness in a night of sleep deprivation. Sleep Research Online. 2(4): 101-105 (1999). T. Morihushi, Y. Masumoto, H. Kawasaki, M. Takigawa - Effect of electroencephalogram of chewing flavored gum. Psychiatry Clinic Neuroscience. 2000, 54(6), 645-651. T. Morihushi, Y. Masumoto, H. Kawasaki, M. Takigawa, T. Ogura - Effects of three principal constituents in chewing gum on electroencephalographic activity. Psychiatry Clinic Neuroscience. 1999, 53(1), 17-23. T. Morihushi, Y. Masumoto, H. Kawasaki, M. Takigawa - Spectral analysis of changes in electoencephalographic activity after the chewing of gum. Psychiatry Clinic Neuroscience. 1998, 52(6), 587-592./p>
The research performed on 75 adults by Northumbria University in the UK has shown that chewing a gum increases the mental capacity and long-term memory. The participants were divided into three groups: first group has chewed gum, the second group was requested to imitate chewing a gum and third group did not make any activity. The computer aided tests performed for evaluating the mental capacity, attention and memory have displayed that short- and long-term memory is 35% better in the first group. During the tests, it was also observed that the heart beats of the participants have become faster and more insulin was generated for arousing hunger feeling. Insulin, which the receptors are located in hippocampus section of the brain, has stimulated a section of the brain which is very important for memory functions (1).
NOTES: Wilkinson L., Scholey A., Wesnes K. - Chewing gum selectively improves aspects of memory in healthy volunteers; Appetite, (2002) 38/3 (235-236).
The refreshing feeling in the mouth and nose and breathing comfortably are one of the most principal factors in consuming gum. The gum provides this benefit through various ways. Traditionally, most of the gums are mint flavored. Menthol is the most important components of natural mint and provides a unique refreshing feeling for the mouth and nose. While the menthol vapor passes through the palate and nose, it stimulates the receptors responsible for refreshing feeling. (1-4). Recently, “cooling substances” giving a stronger refreshing feeling than menthol have been found. These increase the refreshing feeling to higher levels than normal. Xylitol is one of the gum ingredients giving a refreshing feeling. As energy is required for dissolution of xylitol in saliva, the mouth temperature decreases and gives an instant refreshing feeling. In addition to providing a refreshing feeling to mouth and nose, the gums also ensure that your breath smells nice. Various flavors are added to the gums for masking the smells arising from smoking or food in the mouth of the consumers and for ensuring a nice smell for the consumers’ breath. In addition to the flavors, additives containing deodorant characteristics such as green tea extract, which is proven to catch bad smell molecules like sulphur, are also used in some gums. (5-7).
NOTES: Eccles, R. (2003)1 - Swandulla, D. Schafer, K., Lux, H. D. (1986): The effect of menthol on calcium channel current inactivation. Neurology Articles 68: 23-28. Schafer, K., Braun, H. A., Isenberg, C. (1986): The effect of menthol on the activities of refreshing receptors. Receptor activities analysis. J. Gen. Physiol. 88: 757-776. Eccles, R., Griffiths, D. H., Newton, C. G., Tolley, N. S. (1988b). The effects of menthol isomers on nasal sensation of airflow. J. Laringol. Otol. 102: 506-508. Effects on nasal sensation of airflow and the drive to breath. Current Allergy Asthma Report 3(3): 210-214. H. Yasuda and T. Arakawa: Deodorizing mechanism of epigallocatechin against methyl mercaptan. Biology Science. Biology Technology. Biochemistry, (1995) 59(7), 1232-1236. S. Sakanaka, M Hibino: Chemistry and applications of green tea p. 124-126, CRC Press, Boca Raton, 1997. H. Yasuda, T. Moriyama, K. Suzuki, M. Tsunoda: The effects of gum on bad breath through gas chromatography (III) research on gums containing tea extracts. Nippon Shishubyo Gakkai, Kaishi, 37, 141, 1995.
Preventing the risk against tooth caries is not sufficient for the market which also demands healthy and white teeth. Actually, the products maintaining the natural whiteness of the teeth increasingly become successful. The stains arising due to coffee, tea, wine etc. beverages and smoking have a negative effect on the natural color of the teeth. Teeth plaques and tartars contribute to the occurrence of such stains on the teeth.
In the gums designed for protecting the natural whiteness of the teeth, baking powder, as a reliable and settled substance, is generally used for preventing acid attacks, helping to maintain the healthy appearance of tooth enamel and providing preventive cleaning against plaques. In addition to this, polyphosphates are also used for their anti-tartar effects proven to help in removing the stains.
NOTES: 1. D.M. Britt; L.M. Cohen, F.L. Collins Jr. - Cigarette smoking and chewing gum: response to a laboratory-induced stressor. Health Psycol. 2001; 20(5): 361-3682. D. Hodoba - Chewing can relieve sleepiness in a night of sleep deprivation . Sleep Res. Online. 2(4): 101-105 (1999)3. T. Morinushi, Y. Masumoto, H Kawasaki, M. Takigawa - Effect of electroencephalogram of chewing flavored gum. Psychiatry Clin. Neurosci. 2000, 54(6), 645-651.4. Y. Masumoto, T. Morinushi, H Kawasaki, T. Ogura, M. Takigawa -Effects of three principal constituents in chewing gum on electroencephalographic activity. Psychiatry Clin. Neurosci. 1999, 53(1), 17-235. Y. Masumoto, T. Morinushi, H Kawasaki, M. Takigawa - Spectral analysis of changes in electroencephalographic activity after the chewing of gum. Psychiatry Clin. Neurosci. 1998, 52(6), 587-5926. Wilkinson L., Scholey A., Wesnes K. - Chewing gum selectively improves aspects of memory in healthy volunteers; Appetite, (2002) 38/3 (235-236)7. T. Imfeld - Interdental Plaque-pH-Telemetry. In " Surface and colloid Phenomena in the Oral Cavity: Methodological Aspects". Proceedings of a workshop on saliva-dental plaque and enamel surface interaction. Eds. Frank and Leach. IRL Press Ltd., London, pp. 143-156, 1982.8. T. Imfeld - Identification of low caries risk dietary components. Monographs in oral science, 11: S. Karger, Basel 1983