Researchers say a simple (and incredibly cheap!) trick that could possibly save you hundreds, or maybe even thousands, in dental work.
The trick: chewing sugar-free gum.
It’s the next best thing to brushing every time you eat. In fact, a UK study about tooth decay found that the National Health Service, England’s public health system, could save more than 8 million pounds a year if every 12-year-old chewed sugar-free gum after their meals.
Most foods and drinks leaves residue that feeds bacteria. As bacteria eat the sugars that hang out in your mouth, they produce acids that then wear away your enamel. Chewing gum not only loosens the bits of food that get stuck in your teeth, it also stimulates your saliva. The saliva coats your teeth, picking up bacteria and acid as it goes, which you then swallow. And voilà—you have less enamel-destorying acid in your mouth.
For best results, chew gum for 20 minutes after eating. The best flavour to chew is mint, because the fruit-flavoured gums are acid-based and can dry out your mouth.
Just remember—chewing sugar-free gum is a complement to your dental routine, not a replacement. “There’s no better way to take care of your teeth than the usual brushing, flossing, and 6monthly check in with your dentist,” says Dr Rita Trakhtman, dentist.