Is chewing gum useful, does it protect teeth from tooth decay, or not?
These questions worry many. On the one hand, advertising does not get tired of reminding us of this. On the other hand, we know what advertising costs and how you can trust it.
WHAT DO THE DENTISTS SAY ON THIS PROBLEM?
“Chewing gum should be used after each meal for 10-15 minutes. In general, with proper use, this is useful, ”advises a professor at the Department of Surgical Dentistry, Institute of Dentistry, First Moscow State Medical University named after I.M. Sechenova Igor Bondarenko.
He identified two main useful mechanisms of action of chewing gum. First: it helps to clean the oral cavity due to salivation, washing off the remnants of food and acids from tooth enamel. Second: mechanical cleaning due to the fact that large particles of food left on the teeth and mouth after eating are glued to the chewing gum.
It should be understood that chewing gum will not replace a toothbrush. “To achieve adequate hygiene, of course, you need a toothbrush, interdental floss, and possibly an irrigator (a device for performing a hygienic procedure at home. – Ed.),” Said Professor Bondarenko.
Other useful effects of chuingam (eng. Chewing-gum – “chewing gum”) are its ability to maintain chewing muscles in tone, increase blood flow in the periodontium (tissues surrounding the tooth) and give a feeling of freshness after eating.
The doctor recalled that contraindications for the use of chewing gum are various periodontal diseases, in which a person's teeth become mobile. The problem is that with these diseases (periodontal disease and periodontitis) the fixation of teeth in the hole is disturbed and they begin to swing. Using chewing gum, you can swing them even more and lose them faster.
Moreover, gum is best avoided in the initial stages of these diseases, when the teeth do not seem to swing. The first sign of these diseases may be the release of blood from the gums. As you know, this is very common. And with this symptom, you need to check with your dentist to exclude periodontal disease.
The mechanical effects of chewing gum on teeth and chewing apparatus should not be underestimated. In the medical scientific literature, the following side effects are described that are caused by this effect of chuingam:
– destruction of fillings, bridges, crowns and other dental structures;
– syndrome of the temporomandibular joint;
– excessive development of the masticatory muscles;
– an increase in the level of mercury in the body in individuals with amalgam fillings.
Position of gastroenterologists
Aleksey Bueverov, doctor of medical sciences, gastroenterologist and professor of the department of outpatient therapy at Sechenovskiy University, dispelled the myth that chewing gum is dangerous for the stomach and contributes to the development of ulcers. So that there were no problems, he advised not to swallow the chuing and not to chew it all day.
These tips are correct, because doctors know cases when swallowed chewing gum led to intestinal obstruction. So, a few years ago in Israel, an 18-year-old girl was hospitalized with abdominal pain. An X-ray showed that she had a large foreign body (bezoar) in her stomach, the nature of which was unclear.
With gastroscopy, the presence of a foreign body was confirmed. It consisted of something rubbery. The girl stunned the doctors by the fact that she had the habit not to spit out, but to swallow chewing gum. Doctors managed to remove bezoar endoscopically – without open surgery on the stomach. Small pieces were bitten off him, removing them individually with an endoscope. Recently, a similar story was in Moscow.
With children, such stories are more common. They rarely become public, but one of the surgical teams described three such cases from personal practice in the famous American scientific journal Pediatrix.
The chewing gum victims were a four-year-old girl and boy, who began to have severe constipation. Both had huge casts from a stuck together chuyingama in the rectum. They were hardly removed by introducing children into anesthesia. The third child was only a year and a half, but his parents gave him chewing gum. His mold of swallowed chewing gum was found in the esophagus.
The authors of the article warn parents that they should never give children chewing gum until they understand that they should never be swallowed. But as medical experience and the above examples show, this may be relevant for adults as well.
DO NOT RELAX
In addition to obstruction and constipation, chewing gum can cause diarrhea. And sometimes this leads to very serious problems. Doctors sometimes describe casuistic cases.
In the medical journal "Lancet" there is a case of a stewardess who suffered 7 years from diarrhea and abdominal pain. She was examined from the heels to the crown, but could not be diagnosed. It turned out that she chewed about 60 chuyingama plates daily. But I did not swallow it. Since the chewing gum was sugar free, it contained substitutes for it – sorbitol, xylitol, maltitol, mannitol: they all have a fairly strong laxative effect.
A similar case is described by German doctors. But their ward 21-year-old woman consumed only 3-4 packs of sugarless chewing gum per day. This turned out to be enough that she also suffered greatly from diarrhea and abdominal pain, plus very (pathologically) exhausting. She was examined far and wide – they were looking for cancer … But it turned out to be chewing gum. From it she received daily 18-20 g of sorbitol, and this is a very decent dose of a laxative.
For many people, 5-10 g of this substance is enough for diarrhea to occur. According to the estimates of German doctors, one gum plate contains approximately 1.25 g of sorbitol. So, for some, only one pack is enough for diarrhea.
Another very common complication of chewing gum is aerophagy. This is the name for swallowing air into the stomach, which causes not only discomfort and pain, but also provokes heartburn. And the latter, as you know, is a risk factor for the development of cancer of the esophagus.