If your kids are anything like I was as a youngster, they always find their way into your gum stash. As a parent, you can’t hide much from your kids (especially when it comes to food), and chewing gum is no exception. If you pop a piece in your mouth, pretty soon your little one will want to follow suit. Kids love to copy their parents, and what better way to do that than by chewing on a stick of tasty gum? (Blowing bubbles is pretty fun, too!)
Chewing gum seems pretty harmless. In fact, you might encourage your kiddos to chew a piece of gum if they’re tempted to eat candy before dinner or if they’re having trouble focusing on their homework. While there are some great benefits of chewing gum for kids, there are a few downsides, too.
Let’s take a look at the dos and don’ts of gum for kids.
- Gum helps produce saliva, which breaks down residual food in the mouth and fights off bacteria.
- Xylitol, the artificial sweetener used in chewing gum, actually helps prevent bad bacteria from setting up shop.
- Gum can help a fidgety little one (or a fidgety bigger one, like myself) focus better on the task at hand.
- Gum helps aid bad breath when the ability to brush or floss isn’t available (a benefit we’re ALL grateful for).
That being said, yes, it’s okay to give your little one a stick of gum to chew on, but before you run out and buy the first pack of gum you see, here’s something to keep in mind: these benefits only apply to sugarless gum. That means Hubba Bubba and Dubble Bubble are out.
But never fear—there are plenty of sugarless chewing gums out there that your child is bound to enjoy. Here’s a list to get you started, courtesy of the Children’s Dentistry of Naples:
- 5 Sugar-Free Gum
- Bazooka Sugar-Free Bubble Gum
- Dentyne Ice Sugarless Gum
- Eclipse Sugar-Free Gum
- Extra Sugar-Free Gum
- Ice Breakers Ice Cubes
- Orbit Sugar-Free Gum
- Stride Sugarless Gum
- Trident Sugar-Free Gum
If you’re looking for more options than those listed above, just check the package of gum you want for the ADA Seal of Acceptance. This seal ensures that the gum is sugarless and harmless to kids and adults alike.
Now that you know some of the dos when it comes to gum for kids, let’s review a few of the don’ts.
As mentioned above, the American Academy of Pediatrics suggests that children younger than four years of age may have trouble chewing gum safely. Gum presents a serious choking hazard to children who have not yet mastered eating and swallowing other foods.
If you choose to give your younger child a piece of gum, monitor them closely to ensure that you can help at a moment’s notice if they accidentally swallow it.
While chewing gum has some health benefits, too much of it can negatively affect your child’s health. Chewing gum excessively can cause the following:
- Digestion issues
- Jaw pain
- Mouth ulcers
But before you throw away all your gum, remember: these consequences are only brought on by excessive chewing. So giving your little one a stick to chew on every now and then isn’t a problem.
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Keeping your kids healthy is your top priority as a parent. Now that you know a bit about the dos and don’ts of gum for kids, you can better care for your child’s oral health, but what about other aspects of their health?
It’s tough being a kid and teen, and getting the right amount of sleep, food, and relaxation can be a tricky balance—add in trying to create healthy tech habits, and your child has their hands full. That’s why Troomi’s mission is to empower kids to become their best selves in every aspect of their life: physical, emotional, and mental. With the multifunctional Parent Portal and KidSmart® Apps, your kiddo can do, dream, and become everything and anything they want.