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   Jan 26

Is GUM better than flossing? 10 minutes of chewing can remove 100 MILLION bacteria from your mouth, study claims

Researchers at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands studied the effectiveness of chewing gum (stock image shown).

They found in 10 minutes it removed 100 million bacteria from the mouth. But if chewed for a long time it could release bacteria back into the gums

The study, which appeared in the journal Plos One, was led by researchers from the University of Groningen in the Netherlands.


They found that the gum was most effective in the first 30 seconds of chewing, and after that it would become less effective in trapping bacteria on a sliding scale.

Also, they note that only gum that did not contain sugar was useful; if it did contain sugar, it could ‘feed’ oral bacteria.


Last year a chewing gum company created an art installation featuring identical twins to find out what impression chewing gum makes on the public.

For the Almost Identical exhibition, Beldent put the siblings together inside the Buenos Aires Museum of Contemporary Art and asked one to chew a stick of gum while the other maintained a neutral expression.

When 481 visitors were asked a series of questions about the twins, 73 per cent preferred the gum chewers.

In one of their experiments, known numbers of bacteria were finger-chewed into the mouths of participants, and they were then asked to chew gum for 10 minutes.

The researchers found that about 100 million bacteria were detected on each piece of chewed gum, with the number increasing as chewing time increased.

‘Trapped bacteria were clearly visualised in chewed gum using scanning-electron-microscopy,’ they wrote in their paper.

They used two unnamed brands of spearming gum in their study.

Chewing one piece of gum could remove about 10 per cent of the oral microbial load in saliva.

They note, however, that continuously chewing gum can ultimately release some of the absorbed bacteria back into the mouth.

The researchers say chewing gum can be as effective as flossing (stock image shown) – although each targets different areas of the mouth. They hope their research could be used to make specialist chewing gum to absorb specific disease-related bacteria in the future

’Continued chewing changes the structure of the gums, decreasing the hardness of the gum due to uptake of salivary components and release of water soluble components,’ they write.

‘This presumably affects the adhesion of bacteria to the gum, causing a release of initially trapped, more weakly adhering bacteria from the gum.

‘Such a change in composition of trapped bacteria is supported by the observation that the diversity of species trapped in chewed gum increases with chewing time.’

The researchers add that their research could be used to develop gum that selectively removes specific disease-related bacteria from mouths.

Source: Daily Mail

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