Kirby children’s dentists' teen patients blowing bubbles with colorful chewing gum

Kirby Children’s Dentists CHEW-se Sugar-Free Gum

September 29, 2023 8:14 pm

Did you know that National Chewing Gum Day falls on September 30th every year? While it’s no secret that kids love sugary treats, it can be difficult to get them to give up their favorites. However, when those sugary foods aren’t good for your teeth, parents have good reason to offer a healthier alternative – sugar-free gum! At Tots to Teens Pediatric Dentistry & Orthodontics, our Kirby children’s dentists believe that when it comes to dental health in children, preventive measures and patient education are key—which is why we encourage our young patients to chew sugar-free gum responsibly!

What Is the Not-So-Secret Ingredient in Sugar-Free Gum?

Sugar-free gum frequently includes a key ingredient known as xylitol. Xylitol is a natural sugar substitute commonly found in toothpaste, mouthwash, and other sugar-free items. It is a type of sugar alcohol that not only has fewer calories compared to regular sugar but also does not raise blood sugar levels. Due to its ability to help prevent cavities, our highly recommended Kirby children’s dentists encourage the use of xylitol gum.

Can Xylitol Combat Cavities?

One major factor that sets xylitol apart from other sugar substitutes is its remarkable and specific benefits for oral health. Countless studies have provided evidence of xylitol’s ability to improve oral hygiene, a finding that our Kirby children’s dentists endorse. Xylitol actively combats cavities by:
  • Actively Inhibiting the Growth of Bacteria That Cause Plaque, Effectively Preventing Tooth Decay
  • Stimulating the Production of Saliva, Which in Turn Aids in The Natural Cleaning and Remineralization of Teeth
With the assistance of xylitol, sugar-free gum emerges as not just a delicious treat but also as a highly effective solution for maintaining dental health and a cavity-free state.

Are Artificial Sugars Safe for Kids?

Xylitol is widely regarded as a safe substance for both children and adults. It is deemed safe when consumed in the typical quantities found in oral health products and food. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry supports the use of xylitol, as well as other sugar alcohols, as non-cariogenic sugar alternatives. Primarily, xylitol is obtained by kids through the consumption of sugarless gum and mints. For effective prevention of cavities, it is recommended that the first ingredient listed in the mint or gum should be xylitol. In case your child is not yet old enough for gum and mints, consider a toothpaste specifically designed for kids that contains xylitol. Now, what is the ideal dosage of xylitol for kids? According to the California Dental Association and various other organizations, it is suggested that a total of 5 grams of xylitol, divided into three to five doses, is considered ideal. If your child is using gum or mint, it is recommended to chew the gum for a minimum of five minutes or allow the mint to dissolve slowly in the mouth. Each chewing session or each toothbrushing session can be counted as one dose.

Our Kirby Children’s Dentists Teach Kids to Care for Their Smiles

Patient education is the cornerstone of our service, and the Kirby children’s dentists of Tots to Teens Pediatric Dentistry & Orthodontics encourage our patients and their families to make the switch from regular chewing gum to sugarless, xylitol-based gum instead. Learn more ways to protect your little one’s smile at their next dental appointment! Call  210-775-0669 or send us a message using our virtual contact form to book an appointment with our Kirby children’s dentists.

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