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Take holiday pictures, send holiday cards, go to 7 holiday parties, make grandma’s eggnog, buy ugly sweater, develop a cavity–wait, develop a cavity? Who wants THAT on a holiday to-do list? Nobody. But with all the snacking and sugary treats of the holidays, new and worsening cavities are prevalent.

To combat this problem, chew sugarless gum! Chewing sugar-free gum helps prevent cavities by stimulating your salivary glands. It is the saliva that fights cavities, not the gum itself.

To understand how saliva protects teeth against cavities, we need to understand how cavities form in the first place.

Cavities primarily form by acid erosion. Acid comes from two primary sources: from the foods and drinks you consume, and from the bacteria living in your mouth. The bacteria feed on sugars, then produce an acidic byproduct that eats away at tooth enamel (this is why mouth health requires limiting sugary foods). External acidic sources include lemon and citrus fruits, energy drinks, wine, soda, or sports drinks.

Saliva helps neutralize the acids in your mouth. It also flushes away the food particles and debris that bacteria feed on. This helps prevent cavities from forming by reducing bacterial growth. Chewing sugarless gum stimulates saliva flow, beginning the process.

Of course, chewing other types of gum also stimulates salivary glands. However, the sugars present in the gum feed the bacteria–negating the benefits of chewing gum in the first place! Stick to sugarless gum for a healthy and happy mouth this season!

For more information, call Daghlian Pediatric Dentistry & Sokolowski Orthodontics in Newport Beach, California, at 949-706-7006. Dr. Rita Daghlian and our team look forward to making your smile shine this holiday season.