A newly published study has found that chewing sugar-free gum for 10 minutes following a meal can remove as many as 100 million harmful bacteria from the mouth. This is fairly exciting news for people who love to chew gum and may even help reduce the need for flossing multiple times during the day.
Here’s the catch: chewing gum for periods longer than 10 minutes re-deposits all of those bacteria – plus a few extra – onto teeth and gums, eliminating any benefit.
It is important to remember that chewing sugar-free gum can help fight cavities, but should not be seen as a suitable alternative to flossing at least once daily. In fact, despite the claims made by various mouthwashes and toothbrushes, there is absolutely no good alternative to flossing. Not one. Flossing remains the most effective way to prevent tartar buildup below the gum line and reduce your risk of developing gingivitis and more advanced forms of gum disease.