Cavities are caused by dental caries, a bacterial disease in which diet plays a major factor. Sugars, as we know, promote caries and thus cavities. Dentists have regularly told their patients to avoid sugary foods, brush and floss after eating, and if they chew gum, use sugarless gums. A recent article in the Journal of the American Dental Association found that chewing gum sweetened with xylitol may have some beneficial effects. Xylitol does not contribute to caries and may even reduce the accumulation of plaque on the tooth surface. The xylitol-sweetneed gum inhibits the growth of bacteria in the mouth. Also, chewing stimulates saliva production which is also helpful in preventing plaque. So if you are note near a toothbrush after a meal, try chewing a xylitol sweetened stick of gum for at least five minutes. But don’t use sugarless gum as a substitute for regular brushing, flossing, fluoride and professional visits! For more information about prevention and caring for your mouth, give us a call to set up your appointment.