The Effects of Chewing Gum on Your Oral Health Explained by Our Glendale Dentists

Written by Dr. McKay on Aug 11, 2020

When we think about oral healthcare, our minds often go to brushing and flossing. However, it is also important to pay attention to what kinds of foods and drinks we are coating our mouths with day in and day out.

In this article our Glendale dentists are going to be talking about how one indulgence in particular—chewing gum—can affect your oral health. Let’s get started!

Effects of Sugar

Many types of chewing gum are packed with sugars, and sugars are fuel for oral bacteria. So, whenever possible, look for a sugar-free formulation, perhaps one that uses Xylitol as a sweetener. If you do indulge in a sugary piece of gum, make sure to rinse your mouth right after you finish chewing, and don’t chomp on a piece all day long. You really want to minimize the number of hours that bacteria are feeding on sugar.


Chewing gum can be hard on your temporomandibular joints, especially if you are dealing with an uneven bite. The TMJs are the joints that connect your lower jaw to your skull. If you find that your jaw is feeling sore or overtaxed, talk to your dentist about the possibility of TMJ dysfunction. And make sure to stop chewing on gum if your jaw starts to “lock up,” as this is a sign of serious TMJ issues.

Prolonged Contact with Teeth

Another thing to keep in mind when consuming gum is that it can stick to those hard-to-reach spots on your smile. Our dental team recommends using floss, rather than pointy wooden or metal toothpicks to dislodge these particles from between your teeth. Toothpicks difficult to use with any precision, and they can inadvertently cause damage to your oral tissues. 

If you want to learn even more about how you can protect your oral health through your diet, don’t hesitate to give our Glendale dentists a call. We look forward to speaking with you!