Do This If You’re Too Lazy to Floss

What You Need to Know: To banish bacteria, give your teeth a workout: Chewing gum cleans out your mouth.

The Study:

  • Participants chomped on sugar-free gum for up to 10 minutes. After analyzing the masticated morsels, researchers found about 100 million bacteria trapped in each chunk.
  • That actually makes up just a small percentage of all the bacteria hanging out in your mouth, but the reduction is still important: It can lead to fewer cavities, healthier gums, and better breath.
  • That’s because when you chew gum, it actually cleans plaque and pieces of food off your teeth, says study author Stefan Wessel, M.Sc.

My Take: The gum company Wrigley funded the study, creating a potential for bias. But, there’s been a lot of research on this topic, and it appears that chewing sugar-free gum is indeed beneficial when it comes to reducing mouth bacteria. Chew gum stimulates production of spit, an antimicrobial. Flossing is still the best bacteria-squashing option, since the thin filaments can remove bugs from in between your teeth—an important spot when it comes to preventing cavities—while gum only hits the surfaces. Stick to sugar-free, as your mouth’s bacteria ferments the sugar in regular gum, producing acid that weakens your teeth. As for how long you should chew, cap it at 10 minutes. Anything longer and the bacteria that’s trapped in the gum might actually be released back into your mouth. Plus, the flavor’s usually long gone by then anyway.

My Take: These results suggest that anti-androgen receptor therapy may benefit a larger percentage of triple negative breast cancers than previously thought. We look forward to results from human clinical trials. I’m Dr. Michael Hunter.

The small print: The material presented herein is informational only, and is not designed to provide specific guidance for an individual. Please check with a valued health care provider with any questions or concerns. As for me, I am a Harvard- , Yale- and UPenn-educated radiation oncologist, and I practice in the Seattle, WA (USA) area. I feel genuinely privileged to be able to share with you. If you enjoyed today’s offering, please consider clicking the follow button at the bottom of this page.


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Harvard AB Yale MD UPenn Radiation Oncology Radiation Oncologist, Seattle area

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