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Can Gum and Candy Prevent Cavities

Is a weak economy causing dental problems? Can gum and candy prevent cavities? Read on to find out more!

Can Candy and Gum Prevent Cavities?

A new study has found that the use or consumption of certain types of gum and candy can actually reduce the occurrence of cavities when used in conjunction with proper dental care.

The new study specifically studied the use of sugar-free candy and gum containing the ingredients xylitol and polyol as an addition to dental care programs for those patients at a high risk for developing cavities. Patients with this elevated risk would likely benefit from these types of gums and candies as long as they are combined with other important preventative factors such as good self-care (brushing and flossing), along with dental sealants and varnishes, community water fluoridation, and good eating habits.

The panel encouraged dental health practitioners to advise parents and caregivers of healthy children older than five who are at higher risk for cavities to chew sugar-free polyol gum after meals for 10 to 20 minutes to prevent cavities. Polyol is a low-calorie sweetener, such as xylitol, sorbitol or mannitol, which is not broken down by the bacteria in the mouth and therefore does not contribute to tooth decay. The panel also stated that sucking xylitol-containing sugar-free lozenges or hard candy after meals may reduce cavities in children.

Americans Cutting Back on Dental Care

A recent survey found that more than one-third (35 percent) of those who regularly visit the dentist have cut back on appointments. The weak economy is seen as the primary catalyst for this change. Unfortunately, visiting the dentist less frequently for routine dental visits can wreak havoc on more than just oral health. Regular preventative dental care plays an important role in preventing other diseases and keeping future healthcare costs down.

The survey found that an even greater number of individuals heading up larger households, and those with younger children — nearly one-half (47 percent) — have cut back on their visits to the dentist in the past year. Those who have younger children cut back more frequently than those households with slightly older children. Sadly, this further emphasizes the impact the stagnant economy is having on young families who are just starting out.

Oral Health America, the study’s commissioner, launched a campaign on September 1st called “Fall for Smiles.” The program aims to remind both the public and policymakers about the importance of preventative care to long-term, overall health. Although preventative dental care may seem expensive, especially to those on a budget or those without insurance, it is actually an investment in future health and should be taken seriously.

With most families budgets stretched, we want to remind our patients that we accept Care Credit for all types of dental care. Care Credit is a revolving credit card that you can use at many medical, dental and veterinary offices, includingours. Care Credit also offers 3 and 6 month no-interest plans for larger charges. If you have any questions, call us at 734-677-2156 or check out Care Credit online for more information.


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