As a parent, you want to ensure you’re providing the very best care for your children. From the shoes that they wear to the video content they watch, you’re in charge of creating an ideal foundation for a lifetime of success and happiness. When it comes to your child’s teeth, you may have a lot of questions and concerns. One question we hear often at our dental offices in San Marcos and Seguin is whether or not chewing gum is safe for children. Does it help to fight cavities, or does it actually help them grow?
Today, Alligator Dental will discuss the good and the bad of chewing gum for children, as well as the value of reaching out to our pediatric dentists for complete dental care. Are you worried about the state of your child’s teeth? Contact us now to schedule an appointment!
Making Healthy Choices
The effects on your child’s smile will depend largely on the type of chewing gum consumed. Sugar-free gum provides all the fun of chewing gum without the concerns. Good gum brands can deliver great cleaning effects, so be sure to look around if your little one is craving chewing gum!
Xylitol is a natural sugar substitute that tastes great and does not contribute to cavities like sugar does because it cannot be digested by oral bacteria. This key difference helps to promote a healthy pH level for your child’s teeth, neutralizing the conditions that promote cavity growth. Children and adults have seen success by utilizing this sweetener to prevent tooth decay. Xylitol has also been utilized to prevent other health issues, such as ear infections in daycares.
The Bad News
It can be fun to chew gum, with all of the popping, snapping, and bubble-blowing. The bad news, however, is that sugary gums can seriously impact the healthy surfaces of your child’s teeth. The high level of sugar present in these products can provide a prime source of food for cavity-causing bacteria. Eating sugary foods and acidic beverages can erode the protective enamel, and chewing gum, which is placed in the mouth for longer periods of time, increases the amount of contact between teeth and sugar. Children who frequently chew sugary gum may be at risk for more cavities.
The Good News
On the plus side, the act of chewing gum itself can improve the health of your smile. Chewing gum produces saliva to break down food and wash away beverages and unwanted acids, while also protecting the enamel, but only after the gum has lost its sugar and flavor.
What if My Child Swallows Their Gum?
The American Academy of Pediatrics has highlighted the dangers of allowing children to swallow chewing gum. While occasional accidents will likely not cause problems, frequent gum swallowing can lead to abdominal pain, diarrhea, dental issues, and more. In some cases, children may need to be treated for constipation!
Alligator Dental recommends allowing your little one to chew gum only when they understand they it should not be swallowed. Waiting until an appropriate age can help to provide you with peace of mind while keeping your child free from certain health risks!
Complete Dental Services
If your child has been chewing gum for a while now, it may prove beneficial to take them into your local pediatric dental specialists for a checkup. Alligator Dental is here to provide the best experience for families across Texas. Our pediatric dentists in San Marcos and Seguin provide a comfortable atmosphere that focuses on making oral health fun! We provide a full range of dental care for kids of all ages. From the first tooth through their 18th birthday, we will work to give your child a healthy smile. Our team of caring experts can develop a personalized care plan that minimizes the long-term costs and discomfort for your little one. We’ll work hard to establish trust and build familiarity with your little one, speaking at their level about important dental plans in comforting terms.
Are you ready to see how awesome our dental services can be for your little one? Stop by one of our locations to take a tour, or contact us online to schedule your appointment today!