According to Wikipedia, Chewing gum is a soft, cohesive substance designed to be chewed without being swallowed. Modern chewing gum is composed of gum base, sweeteners, softeners/plasticizers, flavors, colors, and, typically, a hard or powdered polyol coating. Its texture is reminiscent of rubber because of the physical-chemical properties of its polymer, plasticizer, and resin components, which contribute to its elastic-plastic, sticky, chewy characteristics. Chewing gum in various forms has been around since ancient times. The Greeks chewed sap from the mastic tree, called mastiche. On the other side of the world, the ancient Mayans favored the sap of the sapodilla tree (called tsiclte). Native Americans from New England chewed spruce sap—a habit they passed on to European settlers. Today, the base used for most gum products is a blend of synthetic materials (elastomers, resins and waxes in various proportions). However, chewing gum is as popular as ever.
Chewing gum and dental health
Sugar-free gum sweetened with xylitol has been shown to reduce cavities and plaque. The sweetener sorbitol has the same benefit, but is only about one-third as effective as xylitol. Other sugar substitutes, such as maltitol, aspartame and acesulfame K, have also been found to not cause tooth decay. Xylitol is specific in its inhibition of Streptococcus mutans, bacteria that are significant contributors to tooth decay. Xylitol inhibits Streptococcus mutans in the presence of other sugars, with the exception of fructose. Xylitol is a safe sweetener that benefits teeth and saliva production because, unlike most sugars, it is not fermented to acid. Daily doses of xylitol below 3.44 grams are ineffective and doses above 10.32 grams show no additional benefit. Other active ingredients in chewing gum include fluoride, which strengthens tooth enamel, and p-chlorbenzyl-4-methylbenzylpiperazine, which prevents travel sickness. Chewing gum also increases saliva production.
Chewing gum Increases Saliva Flow
According to research, chewing sugar-free gum for twenty minutes after you eat a meal can cut down on decay. The more you chew, the more saliva you produce, so as you chew your gum, your mouth gets a good rinse from increased saliva flow. Saliva also provides your teeth with the nutrients they need to stay strong. If you experience heartburn after a meal, you may want to give the sticky stuff a try. Saliva neutralizes acids and helps them to travel down your throat.
Gum Must be Sugar Free
Chewing gum is beneficial for your health, but only if it’s sugarless! Chewing sugary gum will negate the positive effects that come from chewing. Bacteria that live in your teeth need sugar to survive, so if you chew sugary gum, you are accommodating the nasty bacteria that cause decay. Calling gum sugar-free is a little misleading. It isn’t bitter tasting, because it’s sweetened with xylitol, sorbitol, aspartame, or mannitol. Your saliva cannot break down these ingredients, so they do not cause cavities.