Dentists joke that you should only floss the teeth you want to keep. Flossing isn't the most glamorous thing, but can you replace the activity with chewing gum?
Let’s take a moment to imagine all the times we got food stuck in our gum. Good, now that we are all slightly grossed out…
To verify, we reached out to Dr. Steven Offenbacher, Chair of Periodontology at the UNC School of Dentistry. His answer is straightforward.
"Chewing gum and flossing are not equivalent,” he laughed.
It's simply. Gum just can't get in between the teeth.
“Flossing has a distinct advantage that it removes the bacteria or the plaque that are between the teeth, an area that is not reached when you chew gum. "
But don’t worry gum chewers and smackers; there is some upside to chewing gum.
"There's some evidence that some kind of sugar free or sugar substitute gum can reduce tooth decay and they're not a bad thing to add to your cleaning regime.
And according to the American Dental Association, if you chew gum after eating, the increased “salivary flow can help neutralize and wash away the acids produced when food is broken down by the bacteria in plaque on teeth.”
In other words, it creates extra spit so all the nastiness can wash away quicker.
But, as for replacing flossing altogether? Sorry, this one's false.
"There's nothing that can replace flossing daily for oral hygiene. "
And Dr. Offenbacher added, if you chew gum and you have fillings or crowns, remember, it's an adhesive and can rip those fillings out.