Our O’Fallon Dentists Share Tips On How To Minimize Effects From Consuming Gum And Mints
Breath freshening mints and gums are all around us in stores, and at bars and restaurants. We often pop these into our mouths almost absentmindedly, but the truth is that we need to pay attention to when and how we indulge in these treats. Keep reading to get more tips from our O’Fallon dentist on chewing and freshening responsibly…
Check the Label
Many types of gums and mints are packed with sugar. Unfortunately, the oral bacteria in our mouths absolutely love to use sugar as fuel as they multiply and grow. Whenever possible, reach for a treat that uses a sugar substitute, like Xylitol. When you do indulge in sugar-laden gum or sticky hard candies, be aware that small particles can stick between your teeth and along your gum line.
Consume in Short Sittings
Oral bacteria aren’t able to stay active and feeding 24/7; a lot of the time bacteria are dormant. Studies have shown, in fact, that bacteria are only able to stay active—using sugar for fuel—for about 20 to 30 minutes after you finish eating or drinking. Following this line of reasoning, it is better for your smile for you to indulge at specific times during the day, rather than snacking or sipping continuously.
Break Bad Habits
Regularly consuming mints and candies can already put your oral health at risk, but if you are someone who chomps on these treats, the type of damage you experience can be compounded and intensified. Every time that you chew on hard substances, you risk developing small cracks and chips in your enamel. Weakened and damaged dental enamel gives harmful oral bacteria easy entry into the underlying tooth structure.
Rinse Rather than Brushing Right Away
When you finish eating candy or chewing gum, try rinsing your smile immediately in order to clear away remaining debris and particles and jump-start saliva production. It is better to rinse rather than brush, because your enamel may be temporarily softened due to exposure to dental acid. It will take about twenty to thirty minutes for you enamel to re-mineralize and return to its normal state.
All of the things we have talked about in today’s article are simple to implement, and can be incorporated into your routine immediately. Keep these in mind the next time that you reach for a stick of gum or a freshening mint. As always, our O’Fallon dentists can give you any additional information that you may need—give us a call!