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Smile Showdown: Breath Mints vs. Chewing Gum

January 26, 2023

Filed under: Uncategorized — drkics @ 4:49 pm
Closeup of woman biting into a piece of gum

Whether you’ve just had a meal with garlic, or you want to freshen your breath before an important meeting, you might find yourself reaching for a breath mint or piece of gum. When it comes to your oral health, however, one is certainly a better choice. Interested in learning which one it is? Then keep reading to learn about breath mints vs. chewing gum!

Do Breath Mints Harm Your Teeth?

According to a survey from the National Confectioners Association, 40% of Americans used mints to address “mask breath” during the COVID-19 pandemic. Whether it’s to keep your breath fresh for yourself or for someone else, you might find yourself continuing to reach for a mint well into 2023. But did you know that some brands contain just as much sugar as candy? Since this sweetener can feed decay-causing plaque and increase your chances of developing a cavity, it’s imperative that you opt for a sugar-free one for the sake of your oral health.

Does Chewing Gum Harm Your Teeth?

Like mints, your gum should be sugar-free. Otherwise, you are continually exposing your teeth and gums to sugar as you chew. The good news is that sugarless alternatives come in a wide range of delicious flavors, and they contain an ingredient (xylitol) that has been shown to reduce the number of cavity-causing bacteria in your mouth! If that was reason enough to switch to sugar-free gum, research has found that chewing on a stick for 20 minutes after your meals can stimulate saliva flow, cleaning your teeth in the process.

Note: If you have Temporomandibular Joint Disorder or struggle with TMJ-related symptoms, then gum may exacerbate your jaw pain. In that case, opt for a sugar-free breath mint instead of gum.

Can Chewing Gum Replace Your Oral Hygiene Routine?

Although chewing gum can help rinse away food particles and freshen your breath, it cannot replace your brushing and flossing regimen. To keep your teeth and gums healthy, you should implement the below best practices:

  • Using a soft-bristled toothbrush to brush twice a day
  • Flossing and rinsing with mouthwash daily
  • Visiting your dentist every six months for a checkup and cleaning
  • Limiting foods and beverages that are high in sugar
  • Avoiding unhealthy dental habits, like smoking and nail-biting

Whether you choose breath mints or chewing gum, the key is opting for sugar-free. That way, you freshen your breath without increasing your chances of developing cavities!

About the Practice

Our team at Westgate Dental Care is proud to be our community’s go-to resource for all things oral health. In fact, we’ve been named the Top Pick for Best Dentist by The Daily Herald since 2015, and we’ve been chosen as the “Neighborhood Favorite” by NextDoor! If you want to learn more about how to care for your smile or it’s been more than six months since your last checkup and cleaning, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us via our website or by phone at (847) 908-3684.