It’s hard to check out at the grocery store without eyeing the enticing display of snacks, candy and gum–all within arm’s reach!  Although most of those options would not be approved by your dentist (or doctor), DO feel free to grab a package of gum.  These days, they come in all sorts of flavors:  mint, grape, tropical, watermelon, cinnamon and cotton candy, just to name a few.  Here are some basic do’s and don’ts of chewing gum:

DO chew sugarless gum—it promotes a strong flow of saliva

DO chew for 20 minutes after a big meal—it helps prevent tooth decay

DO look for an ADA seal on a gum package—this ensures that sugar isn’t in the product

DO chew gum to help reduce bad breath and dry mouth—these symptoms can be greatly reduced

DO chew gum with Xylitol—a natural sugar that helps harden tooth enamel

DO chew gum to satisfy a sweet craving—this may help keep you from indulging in more dangerous, sugary treats that damage teeth

Just DON’T replace flossing and brushing with gum chewing—it’s not an adequate substitute for the thorough cleaning a brush and floss can perform!  And most importantly, DO visit your friendly dentist for regular oral health check-ups.  Hope to see you soon.