To chew or not to chew…

Chewing Gum Eliminates about 100 Million Bacteria in 10 Minutes

Chewing gum can help improve oral health, latest research suggests.

 A team of researchers from the University of Groningen in the Netherlands found that chewing of gum trapped bacteria. They expected that regular use of chewing gum can help lower bacterial load in oral cavity. Chewing gum helped eliminate about 100 million oral bacteria in ten minutes.

“Assuming a volume of saliva of around 1ml in the oral cavity, our results indicate that chewing of one piece of gum removes around 10% of the oral microbial load in saliva,” the authors concluded.

As part of the study, five people – one man and four women – aged between 27 and 56, from the department of biomedical engineering were asked to chew two types of spearmint chewing gum once in a day for different durations – 0.5, 1, 3, 5 and 10 minutes. The gum was then dipped in 10ml sterile water and placed in Teflon mold.

Scanning-electron-microscopy was used to view the bacteria trapped inside the gums. Different methods were used to calculate the total number of bacteria trapped in the gums.

However, don’t get carried away!  Chewing gum is an adjunct not a replacement for good hygiene practices.