Should I allow my kid to chew gum?

Maybe your kid saw you chewing gum or they were given some by a classmate – and now they’re interested. If you’re apprehensive about letting your child chew gum, then Harrisburg Pediatric Dentistry can help provide some guidance.

At what age can my child chew gum?

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, five years old is an appropriate age to start giving your child sugarless gum if you would like. This is around the age when children can understand the concept of chewing something without swallowing it. It’s generally recommended to start with half a stick of gum just in case it is accidentally swallowed.

Best practices for children chewing gum

At Harrisburg Pediatric Dentistry, we encourage the use of sugarless gum to help prevent tooth decay! Sugarless gum with xylitol can clean the biting surfaces of the molars and stimulate saliva production. This action brings minerals to the surface and helps the teeth heal. Some gums include a seal from the American Dental Association indicating that they help fight cavities!

However, it’s important to keep in mind that gum with sugar is very bad for the teeth. As your child chews, the sugar is wearing on the enamel of your child’s teeth and creating cavity-causing bacteria. When it comes to gum with sugar, it’s best to avoid it all together. If unavoidable, ensure your child only chews it for a short period of time, rinses well afterward, and brushes their teeth and flosses thoroughly.

Chewing gum in moderation

Just like everything else, letting your child chew gum is OK in moderation. There are risks to excessive gum chewing and swallowing, including:

  • Cavities
  • Digestive tract issues causing diarrhea and/or abdominal pain
  • Excessive gas
  • Mouth ulcers
  • Jaw problems from repeated chewing motion

Ask the experts at Harrisburg Pediatric Dentistry

If you have more questions about letting your kid eat gum, make sure to ask your pediatric dentist at your child’s next visit or give us a call.

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