Can Chewing Gum Get Rid of Bad Breath?

If you've eaten something particularly stinky or are having a bad-breath day after last night's curry, you may already chew gum to try to sweeten your breath. While you may think that it's simply the flavour of the gum that masks the smell of your mouth temporarily, chewing gum may have positive longer-term effects on how your breath smells. How can chewing gum help cure bad breath?

Chewing Gum Gives Your Teeth an Informal Clean

Chewing gum's stickiness can be a useful way of cleaning out food particles that get stuck between your teeth. These particles may be part of the problem that causes bad breath. Your oral bacteria break these particles down when they get stuck in your mouth and, during this process, the bacteria may release smelly compounds that make your mouth smell less than fresh. Chewing gum, especially after eating, can help make keep your teeth food-particle free until your next brushing and flossing session.

Chewing Gum Creates More Saliva

You may not pay much attention to the saliva in your mouth; however, this fluid plays an important role in keeping your teeth and gums healthy. When saliva washes around your mouth, it can pick up bacteria from your teeth, gums and soft tissues and remove it. This may also remove some of the bacteria that is giving you bad breath.

Chewing gum can also encourage better saliva production generally. If you chew gum regularly, your saliva glands grow and work more effectively. If your mouth is dry, you may notice that it smells worse; getting more saliva into your mouth may help shift some bad breath smells on an ongoing basis.

Some Gum Flavours Kill Bad Breath Bacteria

While any flavour of gum can help you deal with stuck food particles and can increase your saliva flow, some flavours may have a more active effect on the bacteria that causes your bad breath in the first place. For example, chewing gums that contain plant oils such as cinnamon may contain compounds that remove the bacteria that create bad breath smells by 50%.

Chewing Gum Tips

  • Always make sure to chew sugar-free gum. Regular gum that contains sugar may help fix your bad breath; however, the gum's sugar content may also increase dental problems such as tooth decay.
  • If you suffer from bad breath all the time and can't work out why, talk to your dentist. Bad breath is often caused by food, drink and habits like smoking; however, it can also be a sign of an underlying dental problem such as decay or gum disease.
  • Chewing gum is a useful dental tool; however, you should not use it as a replacement for brushing and flossing.