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Double Your Bubble

Filed Under: Health Foods at 9:38 am | By: Susan Coyle, Senior Editor
Bubble BlowerIn childhood, gum was grouped with lollipops, hard candies and chewy sweets. It tumbled out of piñatas at birthday parties and rolled from brightly colored machines in the mall. You had to beg your mom before she would buy any, and even then, you could only have one piece. It was a treat. But, you weren’t exactly sure why. All you knew was that it would rot your teeth, and if you swallowed it, your insides were going to house the sticky substance for seven years (not true, by the way). Neither one of those sounded good, so as you got older, you indulged less frequently. When you did chew, you shunned the fruit-flavored, sweet ones in favor of the bland, boring options. Gum lost its luster. Well, it’s time to bring it back.

The American Dental Association (ADA) recently announced that Wrigley’s Orbit, Extra and Eclipse sugarless gums  have been given the ADA Seal of Acceptance. It is a first, warranting a new addition to the award’s category list, but what does it mean? The ADA seal has been a permanent stamp on oral-care products since 1931. It carries with it a guarantee that the item, whether a toothbrush, mouth rinse, toothpaste, dental floss or gum, will help keep your mouth healthy.  For gum, that means it will do at least one of the following: reduce plaque acid, promote tooth enamel re-mineralization, reduce cavities or reduce gingivitis. If it can’t do that both in the lab and in human studies, it won’t receive the seal.  So if you see a seal on a packet of gum, buy the product confidently. However, don’t let a lack of seal keep you from a potentially healthy choice.

To obtain the ADA seal, a company must submit its gum for testing. This requires a considerable amount of time and resources. Wrigley, as the manufacturer of America’s favorite gum, is well equipped to make this investment and thus has acquired the coveted award. But, other companies make healthy gum, too! And having just had two pieces of Spry Chewing Gum, I can tell you these healthy options aren’t lacking in flavor. The first chew sends a cool, refreshing blast through your mouth, leaving you with a minty freshness that satisfies your gum needs. Now to be perfectly honest, that satisfaction didn’t last quite as long as I would have liked, but it did surpass your standard gumball. Besides, I reaped some oral rewards by creating extra saliva (thanks to the chewing) that will break down acids and slow tooth decay, all without sugar.

I would say, then, that you can safely rediscover your gum habit, enjoying a healthy chew. Simply look for sugar-free gums that carry with them oral benefits. Until the companies and ADA have tested them all, you’ll have to read the labels to know which ones are best, but I’m sure you’ll find your favorite and be buying them by the armload in no time.

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