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Henke & Okerstrom December 2012 Newsletter
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Chewing Gum After a Meal for Oral Health
Chewing gum is said to be the world's most common habit. Approximately 100,000 tons of gum is consumed every year. Research is also showing that our gum chewing habit has some positive effects on oral hygiene and teeth health.

Choosing a stick of sugar free gum at the end of a meal can

•  Stimulate the flow of saliva in the mouth
•  Clean the mouth of food debris
•  Relieve dry mouth discomfort
•  Neutralize plaque acids that form in the mouth after eating
•  Help to remineralize enamel to strengthen teeth
•  Help reduce plaque
•  Help to whiten teeth by reducing and preventing stains

So how exactly does chewing sugar free gum work to protect teeth? Chewing gum after a meal stimulates the saliva production which helps to neutralize and wash away acid produced by bacteria after eating. Teeth are the most vulnerable to tooth decay right after meals when plaque and acid levels rise dramatically. Studies show that chewing gum removes the acid within minutes, slowing down the tooth decay processes.

When looking for a sugar free gum, look for a gum that uses Xylitol. Xylitol is a natural sweetener that is shown to fight cavities and dental decay by creating an unwelcome environment for bacteria. Gum that contains sugar actually fuels acid producing bacteria in your mouth, so it is important to choose a sugar free gum. Xylitol, a sugar substitute, is a natural enemy of bacteria because it causes bacteria to lose its ability to stick to teeth.
Dental Health Stocking Stuffers
As you pick up fun gifts for your loved one's stockings this holiday season, consider adding a few useful everyday items that combat the extra sugars and starches of the holiday season. Dental health stocking stuffers ideas include:

•  Toothbrushes and toothpaste with fluoride: Try an electric toothbrush with a timer and soft bristles to encourage the recommended two minutes of brushing. Toothbrushes should have soft, rounded nylon bristles. Toothpaste can now be found in fun holiday containers and flavors.
•  Dental Floss: Dental floss removes food stuck in between teeth that brushes cannot reach. Dental floss comes in a variety of styles and flavors for both adults and kids. Although waxed floss is the easiest to fit between teeth, unwaxed floss actually spreads out its fibers for greater tooth contact.
•  Sugar free gum: Studies show that chewing gum after meals help reduce the acids that cause tooth decay. Look for sugar-free gum that includes xylitol, an artificial sweetener believed to reduce the incidence of cavities.


Henke & Okerstrom | www.henkeokerstromdentistry.com | 541-757-0082
2605 NW Rolling Green Dr., Corvallis, OR 97330



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