Home Lifestyle Chewing Sugar Free Gum Benefits Your Oral Health & More

Chewing Sugar Free Gum Benefits Your Oral Health & More

by InvisiblyMe
At the top is a bird's eye view photo with blue background, featuring a white and pink toothbrush lying down bristles up. Around the toothbrush head are small white pieces of chewing gum. Below is the title: Chewing sugar free gum benefits your oral health & more.

We all know how important oral health is, but have you ever considered sugar free gum to be part of your oral health routine? Not only can it be good for your gnashers, but it can have a range of other potential benefits, from alleviating dry mouth and helping with weight control, to enhancing productivity and boosting memory. Here’s a little look my experience with chewing gum and the myriad of possible positives that come with the tiny but mighty minty chews. 

The Humble Little Sugar Free Chewing Gum

Sugar free gum (SFG) gets worldwide approval from dental associations, including the American Dental Association, for being safe and effective. It can be best seen as an additional tool alongside brushing, flossing and using mouthwash. 

Sugar-free is of course better for your teeth than regular gum that’s sweetened with sugar. Sugar will perpetuate the “bad” bacteria in the mouth, which negatively affects your teeth and can lead to cavities. 

There are of course a few less common but possible caveats, much like with anything. Sugar-free gum can contain sugar alcohols for sweetening the products, which can have a laxative effect when inordinate amounts are used. This just means gum should be used in moderation if it causes any digestive distress. For some people, too much chewing can also lead to TMD (temporomandibular disorder), where excessive chewing causes jaw pain.

How Chewing Sugar Free Gum Helps Me

I won’t sugar coat my experiences here or chew the fat for too long. Okay, enough of the bad one liners! Chronic illness can suck and sometimes even the conditions that don’t seem all that severe can have profound knock-on effects. 

I have suspected Sjögren’s syndrome, so I experience dry eyes, nose and mouth. I’ve written previously about how I’d mistaken dry mouth for thirst and was drinking over 7L of fluid a day until one perilous afternoon when I nearly accidentally killed myself. In addition, I’ve struggled with my oral health as many of us have, with weakened enamel, cavities, staining and receding gums. I brush twice a day with good toothpaste, try to floss with interdental sticks and use a gum-specific mouthwash, but it’s important to keep your mouth happy throughout the day too.

To help deal with dry mouth and quench the thirst a little, I chew sugar free chewing gum most days at least once or twice. I also find it can give me a little boost mentally, to get me more motivated or more focused. 

A close-up photo of a woman popping a stick of chewing gum in her mouth.

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Sugar Free Gum For Oral Health Benefits 

The action of chewing a piece of gum generates saliva production, which has anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties. It’s this saliva that can help in raising the oral pH, which consequently neutralises plaque acids and encourages dental mineralisation.

A 2019 systematic review of prior research undertaken by the King’s College London’s Department of Dentistry found that participants who chewed SFG developed on average 28% fewer dental cavities compared to those who didn’t. This suggests that sugar free gum could be useful as an additional ‘preventative agent’ alongside toothbrushing to reduce the likelihood of dental tooth decay.

In particular, chewing gums with the sugar alcohol ingredient xylitol can be particularly effective at preventing tooth decay. This naturally-occurring sugar alcohol produces xylitol phosphate when it enters cells, which inhibits the cell growth of bacteria, referred to as biofilm. Chewing xylitol-sweetened gum can limit this biofilm generation and reduce the amount of this bad bacteria by as much as 75%, without disrupting the levels of good bacteria.

A close up of a woman's mouth as she makes an angry face, showing off white and healthy-looking teeth.

Alleviates Dry Mouth / Sjögren’s Syndrome

Thanks to the increased production of saliva, along with menthol for cooling, SFG can provide some relief for dry mouth, both occasional and chronic (xerostomia). Sjögren’s, an autoimmune condition that results in dry mouth, can lead to dental problems like plaque, cavities, periodontitis and gingivitis. Chewing sugar free gum can temporarily relieve dry mouth, and regular use can help in minimising the potential dental and gum damage caused by dryness. 

Mighty Mint For The Body’s Defence System

Minty gum is flavoured with menthol, which could potentially support the body’s defence system. This naturally-occurring compound activates our olfactory receptors for smell (the minty scent) and the trigeminal somatosensory system (the cooling sensation). 

Menthol-rich plant extracts have been used in Asian traditional medicine over centuries for respiratory conditions, while menthol can also help to soothe minor irritations in the throat. Menthol is also thought to alleviate nasal congestion by interacting with the cold-menthol-sensitive receptors located on trigeminal nerve endings.

Furthermore, research by Silva and colleagues has looked at particular components like eugenol and menthol to assess their role in the Covid pandemic. They’ve found that compounds like menthol have “binding affinities towards SARC-CoV-2 spoke protein”, as well as human ACE-2 proteins, main protease and RNA dependent RNA polymerase. 

A close-up photo of five pieces of minty sugar free chewing gum sat on top of mint leaves.

For Weight Control

Sugar free gum can satisfy oral cravings while being very low in calories, with some brands purporting to contain almost zero. 

One study discovered that chewing gum after eating food at lunchtime was able to decrease both hunger and snacking later on in the day by approximately 10%. Another study in 2014 from Kresge et al suggested that chewing gum can increase a person’s metabolic rate, though not all studies support this sort of finding. However, some people successfully use chewing gum to prevent unwanted snacking, helping them to delay cravings just long enough for them to dissipate.

Chewing For Enhanced Productivity & Performance 

Studies have shown that chewing gum can have beneficial effects on levels of alertness, productivity and attention. It’s thought that the motor activity involved in chewing enhances arousal that can otherwise be diminished by cognitive tasks. 

A man sat at a desk with a laptop and computer screen in front of him as well as a cup of coffee and lots of sticky notes. He seems busy working and being productive.

An Aid To Quit Smoking

While nicotine gum is available, some individuals find ordinary sugar free gum is a cheaper but still effective option for keeping their mouths busy and minty fresh, which distracts from wanting the smokey taste of a cigarette.

A study by Cohens et al looked at 20 smokers who smoked a cigarette when they first arrived on the premises for the study. Subjects watched a movie and then were asked to wait a further 30 minutes. Half of the smokers were given access to chewing gum during this wait period and the other half weren’t.  The researchers assessed nicotine withdrawal and concluded that chewing gum was able to reduce cravings and was beneficial in nicotine withdrawal when an individual was unable to smoke.

Chewing For Wellbeing & Stress-Reduction

The act of chewing gum, along with the instant taste infusion, can boost mood and help in reducing stress.

A study of university students found that two weeks of chewing gum reduced reported stress levels, especially stress concerning academic demands. The act of chewing itself may partly explain this as it has been linked to reduced stress hormones, such as cortisol. 

In a controlled laboratory study, Andrew Scholey et al concluded that chewing gum was associated with a reduction in ‘acute’ anxiety, salivary cortisol and stress.

A woman sat on a sofa with her head back and her hands cupping underneath her head. She has her eyes closed and looks serene, calm and low on stress.

Mastication For Memory

Some research indicates that chewing (mastication) gum while undertaking a task can enhance numerous elements of cognitive function, including decision making, alertness, comprehension and memory.

One study from 2002 also discovered that both spatial and numerical working memory were improved among those who were chewing gum. 

Another study by Scholey et al found that individuals who chewed gum throughout tests had scores 36% higher in long term memory and 24% higher in short term memory compared to those who didn’t use gum. 

While the exact mechanisms behind memory improvement aren’t known, it’s thought that mastication (chewing) could boost blood flow in certain regions of the brain like the pronto-temporal areas. It’s also possible that chewing could encourage insulin release, in a process referred to as cephalic phase insulin release, which then enhances memory by means of central mechanisms. 

A Few Surprises

While some potential benefits may seem fairly logical and common sense, there are a few studies suggesting more surprising benefits. For instance, studies have shown that patients chewing gum after surgery could help speed up their recovery time. Studies have also found that xylitol-sweetened chewing gum could help in preventing middle-ear infections (acute otitis media) among children.

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Clinical evidence and ongoing research highlights the many potential benefits our humble sugar free gum can have, not just for our oral health but for cognition, dry mouth conditions, smoking cessation, our body’s defence system, weight control and stress, among other things. More research is needed to clarify findings and delve a little deeper into the mechanisms behind the results, but it’s an exciting area of investigation. As with anything, balance is key and it’s possible to have too much of a good thing, so always use in moderation.

The next time you’ve had your dinner, you’re stressed, or you’re in need of a mental boost, you might want to reach for that sugar free gum! 

A black scroll divider.

Do you like sugar free chewing gum? Have you perhaps noticed it providing any of the benefits listed here?

Caz  ♥

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[ This is a sponsored post written by myself. ]

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peanutbuttersandwiches_ March 15, 2021 - 4:57 pm

Amazing post!! Really easy to read, and super fun topic ;D
Love it. You write VERY well.
stay sticky,

InvisiblyMe March 18, 2021 - 4:12 pm

Aw thank you, my sticky friend! ???? xx

Silver Stone March 19, 2021 - 12:03 pm

Chewing gum does have its benefits, but this was an eye opener indeed for me on sugar free gum. Thanks for sharing these interesting facts!

Sandee March 15, 2021 - 5:08 pm

I didn’t know this. What great information. Sugar free is the way to go too. Sugar isn’t a good thing to consume.

Have a fabulous day and week, Caz. Big hug. ♥

InvisiblyMe March 18, 2021 - 4:13 pm

A lot of sugar-free alternatives can be just as tasty. I do think you get used to them after a while, and I personally prefer SFG over sugared gum. Have a lovely day, Sandee xx

Svet Pavlovsky March 15, 2021 - 5:24 pm

I like the benefits of chewing sugar free gum. I did not that it has so many. I chew gum daily on my way to work and on my way home while I am driving. Chewing helps me get through the major highways. I hope you are having a good day.

InvisiblyMe March 18, 2021 - 4:14 pm

It’s great you already use SFG, Svet. I find it’s good for driving too, helping to keep us alert and hopefully a little less stressed! xx

thelonelyauthorblog March 15, 2021 - 5:59 pm

Caz, I had no idea it helped with weight loss. How interestng.

Hope you are well my dear friend.

InvisiblyMe March 18, 2021 - 4:59 pm

I think it’s that ability to keep our mouths busy that can help in delaying temptation and cravings, though obviously it’s just one tool to help. It’s interesting stuff – the mighty little sugar free gum can have various potential benefits! Hope you’re having a decent week so far, Drew ????

Rachel Duerden March 15, 2021 - 7:04 pm

I used to like chewing gum but stopped because it made me bloated. However, I didn’t know about these benefits. ????

InvisiblyMe March 18, 2021 - 5:07 pm

That’s interesting about the bloating, Rachel. I wonder if that’s from swallowing lots of air when you chew, or something in the gum itself? I’ll have to investigate. I’m sorry you’ve had to stop using it but it’s pretty cool a small little piece of sugar free gum can have various potential benefits. xx

Masha March 15, 2021 - 8:03 pm

WOW! who knew chewing sugar free gum can have all of these benefits. Very interesting post, thank you xoxo

InvisiblyMe March 18, 2021 - 5:19 pm

It’s pretty interesting for such a commonly used, tiny piece of sugar free gum, isn’t it? I’m glad I could share this & introduce you to a few new potential benefits, Masha! xx

johnrieber March 15, 2021 - 9:16 pm

Fascinating – you point out many unusual positive side effects from eh simple act of chewing gum!

InvisiblyMe March 18, 2021 - 10:28 pm

The humble little piece of gum, pretty nifty to have lots of potential benefits! ????

B March 15, 2021 - 11:03 pm

It makes too much saliva. Not good for the stomach and bowals.

InvisiblyMe March 18, 2021 - 10:31 pm

Do you think so, B? I hadn’t noticed too much saliva production, but then I have dry mouth so my experience has been possible. Does sugar free gum cause bowel problems for you?

A Woman Of A Certain Age March 16, 2021 - 1:49 am

So what brand do you like?

InvisiblyMe March 18, 2021 - 11:17 pm

I’ve used Wrigleys Extra Cool Breeze for yeeeeeears now. I’m a creature of habit and don’t use anything else. I don’t like mint that’s too strong so this one is perfect. Do you like sugar free chewing gum too? ????

A Woman Of A Certain Age April 18, 2021 - 4:38 pm

Thanks. I’ll give this one a try.


Cathy Cade March 16, 2021 - 10:55 am

My teeth need all the help they can get, but I gave up chewing gum in my teens (when it was super-cool to chew gum). For some reason chewing gum makes me feel depressed. I’m not a depressive sort of person. Neither am I a very self-aware person usually – especially back then – so it must have been a really noticeable effect. I tried again a couple of years ago (when my teeth needed more help) but it still makes me depressed.
Maybe it’s all that chewing with no food to reward it that depresses me?

InvisiblyMe March 19, 2021 - 2:48 pm

Aww Cathy, I’m sorry that happens when you chew gum. Is that any gum that has that effect? I must admit, I’ve not heard of that happening before so I’m a bit at a loss as to why that happens. Maybe you’re right, maybe your brain and tummy get depressed from lack of food after all that chewing! x

The Oceanside Animals March 16, 2021 - 3:45 pm

Lulu: “Hmm, does tearing up boxes and masticating all the little bits of cardboard count as chewing sugar-free gum? Asking for a friend.”

InvisiblyMe March 19, 2021 - 2:49 pm

I bet you get the benefits of mastication (what a great word!) but it’s not as tasty as chewing gum. Do Amazon boxes taste better than other boxes? Asking for a friend.

Ann Coleman March 16, 2021 - 3:46 pm

My husband is facing surgery next month, and he’s been advised to chew sugar free gum. I had no idea it was so good for you!

InvisiblyMe March 19, 2021 - 2:51 pm

Oh Ann, I’m sorry about your hubby needing an operation. It’s quite unusual to be given advice like that, isn’t it? The humble little sugar-free gum can be surprisingly beneficial! I really hope all goes as smoothly as possible for his surgery ????♥ xxxx

Lindsay March 16, 2021 - 8:15 pm

I almost always have gum in my purse. I clench my jaw at night, so chewing gum helps loosen it up a little. It’s also a great way to clean my teeth after lunch at work when it’s not convenient to brush my teeth!

And, hopefully anyone with whom I come into close proximity appreciates it, too!

InvisiblyMe March 19, 2021 - 3:14 pm

Before Covid, I always had gum in my bag too, and you’re right about loosening up the jaw a bit if you clench or grind your teeth at night (which I do). Good point on keeping your mouth fresh and doing a favour for those in close proximity ???? xx

Louise Brady, Author March 17, 2021 - 8:55 am

I’ve been chewing gum to help with being hungry too much, and it works, but my gum isn’t sugar free (it’s the fruity flavoured one!) so I should probably try a different type! I think it helps with concentration a bit too 🙂

InvisiblyMe March 19, 2021 - 3:48 pm

Are you trying to eat less and lose weight, Louise? There’s a part of me that wants to say ‘noooo, you’re beautiful as you are’ but of course it’s such a personal thing (and none of my business!) I’ve not had fruity gum since I was a kid but I kinda want to get some now. Sugar-free is surprisingly beneficial though, and very refreshing. Like you find with your fruity gum, I also find it can help with concentration a bit when things start to slump! xx

Louise Brady, Author March 21, 2021 - 10:43 am

Yeah, I’m trying to eat less (or better) and lose weight, more from a health perspective than anything else though 🙂 I get out of breath far too easily now as I hadn’t been cycling much since the pandemic hit. Exercising again and eating more fruit and veg is making me a lot hungrier!
I recently rediscovered fruity gum and it’s a huge throwback to my teenage years 🙂

Michele Anderson March 17, 2021 - 10:10 pm

Good to know Caz. Thank you 🙂

InvisiblyMe March 19, 2021 - 3:50 pm

I’m glad I could share it – I thought it was pretty interesting just how potentially beneficial something so simple & commonly used can be! ???? xx

Despite Pain March 19, 2021 - 10:41 am

You’ve done so much research for this post. Chewing gum is a great help when you live with dry mouth because it really helps to stimulate saliva. I’ve also always thought of sugarfree gum as a guilt free snack because you get the taste without the calories. Great post, Caz.

InvisiblyMe March 19, 2021 - 3:53 pm

Thank you, Liz – I really enjoy doing research for posts, and I love to learn new things. I already knew sugar-free gum had benefits, but not quite just how many. You’re right about saliva and dry mouth, it really can be a simple way to get a little relief and it’s a guilt-free treat throughout the day whenever you want it! x

Holly March 19, 2021 - 5:42 pm

What a brilliant post Caz! I learned a lot today! Chewing gum is definitely a huge help in quitting smoking. My choice were Tootsie Pops (yeah, I know, probably better to choose SFG, ha ha!). The ability to keep your mouth busy really helps preoccupy the brain and hands (for the hand-mouth fixation side of smoking) during the period of time when cravings are still hanging around. Honestly, I was blown away by how much of a help this was in successfully quitting. That’s why I can back that research up with 100% confidence! 😉

I was really surprised by the quicker recovery time after surgery and the middle ear infection prevention in kids. Wow! How neat is that! You taught me something today & I love learning.

It was also fascinating to me that chewing gum can increase our ability to focus. Huh! I’d never considered that! It makes sense though. The ‘zoning out’ experience is fairly common for me, so hearing this definitely piqued my curiosity! I think I’ll go grab some sugar free gum now…

I loved reading this! You always write on such fun topics and it’s clear that you do your research. Thank you for always educating, entertaining, and elevating my mood! 🙂 You’re awesome! ♥

InvisiblyMe March 20, 2021 - 12:10 pm

Hahah I’m not averse to lollypops either! I suppose I just don’t get that refreshed, more focused vibe after using those like I do with minty sugar-free gum. I used to use it a lot at work to get through slumps years ago, but I still use it now I’m at home working and doing whatever it is I’m always so busy with ???? I’m not sure if it’s just the chewing though, I think it’s the fresh uplift of mint that helps as well.

It’s great that such things – whether gum or Tootsie Pops – could help in you quitting smoking. I think it’s that practical aspect that I’d struggle with if I were to give up smoking, too. And the fact that it’s a short break, to recharge and refocus, rather than anything really to do with nicotine (especially as I don’t breathe down my cigarettes!) I’m so glad you were able to quit and feel better for it, and without spending a fortune on nicotine replacement.

I learned something new with those two surprises at the end as well. It’s pretty fascinating how a humble little piece of gum could have so many potential benefits, isn’t it? I really enjoy doing research and hopefully being able to introduce people to something they might not have known before so I’m really glad you enjoyed the post. Thanks for the great comment, Holly! I hope you have a relaxing weekend ???? xx

Janet B. Pearson March 19, 2021 - 11:21 pm

Really interesting read! I guess I never thought about the possible benefits of chewing gum. Thanks!

InvisiblyMe March 20, 2021 - 12:12 pm

I’m glad you liked the post – It’s surprising just how potentially beneficial a little piece of gum can be ???? Have a great weekend, Janet! x

joarosetintedworld March 30, 2021 - 3:14 pm

This is a brilliant post. Who knew that gum could be so useful? And the memory link to gum chewing is particularly interesting.

Jennifer Arimborgo May 4, 2021 - 5:53 pm

Wow! All sorts of surprising and helpful information here! Thank you so much for putting the time into writing this 🙂

ignitedmoth June 1, 2021 - 1:08 am

Wow! Really interesting post. I used to chew sugar free gum all the time and then at some point I just kind of assumed that constant chewing motion wouldn’t be good for me in the long haul and gave it up. This is all really good to know. There’s a lot of benefits I had never even considered. 🙂


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