During puberty, your child's hormones may change quite significantly. While this is a natural part of the process of becoming an adult, hormonal changes may cause some problems over and above mood swings and emotional drama. Children going through puberty are more likely to develop problems with their gums. Changes in their hormone levels may make their gums much more sensitive than usual and more at risk of damage from bacteria.
While a good dental hygiene routine can go some way to keeping problems at bay, children are not always great at cleaning their teeth and gums at this stage in their lives. Even if your child has good brushing habits, hormonal changes in the gums may make it hard to keep them healthy. Chewing a sugar-free gum that contains xylitol at key points in the day may help avoid gum problems from taking hold.
How Does Xylitol Protect the Gums?
Xylitol is a natural sweetener that is often used in sugar-free gums. In addition to its sweetening properties, xylitol also has some specific dental advantages.
On a basic level, like any sugar-free gum, a xylitol gum can help keep your mouth clean. Chewing gum with xylitol promotes the production of saliva; your mouth uses this saliva to wash away and neutralise harmful substances like bacteria, acids and sugars. From a gum perspective, extra saliva and the action of chewing itself may also be a useful way of getting rid of small pieces of food that stick in your gum line and that may otherwise be a target for bacteria.
In addition, xylitol gives your teeth and gums an extra boost compared to other sweeteners. The substance has antibacterial properties that allow it to eliminate up to 90% of harmful oral bacteria. If your child's gums are affected by puberty hormones, chewing xylitol gum may help reduce the amount of bacteria the gums have to deal with.
When to Chew Xylitol Gum
You probably won't have any problems encouraging your teenager to chew sugar-free gum regularly, especially if you spend a lot of your time telling your child not to eat things that they like but that aren't good for them. Chewing gum may seem like a treat in this case.
Ideally, you should try to encourage your child to chew this kind of sugar-free gum at times when the teeth and gums are at most risk of damage. Typically, this is after meals when your mouth has to cope with acids and sugars from your foods. If your child likes snacking on foods between meals that aren't good for their teeth or likes drinking acidic drinks, such as fruit juices or sodas, you can help give their gums a boost by encouraging your child to chew xylitol gum after snacks and drinks as well.
While chewing xylitol gum may help your child reduce the chances of developing puberty-related gum problems, it's important to remember that gum is not a substitute for brushing and flossing. It's also important to realise that xylitol, like many sweeteners, can have a laxative effect. While you may want to encourage your teenager to chew this kind of sugar-free gum regularly, remind them that they only need 6-10g a day to keep their teeth and gums healthy.
There are more than two ways to straighten a smile, and in this blog, I plan to discuss them all. I plan to look at the differences between braces and retainers and explain why sometimes you may need them both. I look at the differences in cost, time commitment and efficacy. Personally, I have had a bit of experience with this subject – I had braces as a young teen, and I had a permanent retainer. In this blog, I discuss what I have learned, and I present all kinds of new information on the topic. Whether you are trying to make decisions for yourself or your child. I hope you find this information useful.