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Just don't stick it under your chair.

Just don't stick it under your chair

Schoolteachers may not be pleased with the latest dental research demonstrating significant advantages to chewing gum. Recent research shows the copious production of saliva stimulated by gum chewing helps neutralize the tooth-decaying acids in dental plague. Now researchers are focusing on the ideal timing of gum chewing.

Bruce R. Schemehorn, Kichuel K. Park and George Stookey of the Indiana University School of Dentistry in Indianapolis fitted patients with removable partial dentures with built-in pH electrodes for continuous monitoring of plague acidity. Acidity was best neutralized above the "danger limit" of pH 5.5 when gum chewing began within 5 minutes after a meal and lasted at least 15 minutes. "If you can brush, that's best," says Park. "But if you can't, then chewing gum is an alternative we can recommend."

The researchers found that plague acidity from starchy snacks--especially corn chips--lasts onger than that from sucrose (table sugar) snacks. There's even a hint that something in cocoa makes chocolate protective against acidity. Snacks that don't seem to promote much acid plague: peanuts and popcorn. The "healthy" snack that does: raisins, because they're acidic and sticky.
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Title Annotation:chewing gum helps neutralize acids in dental plaque
Author:Weiss, Rick
Publication:Science News
Date:Oct 22, 1988
Previous Article:Cleaning cavities with a light touch.
Next Article:Sweet defeat for dental caries.

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