Discouraging kids from chewing gum is the kind of thing parents usually love to do. After all, there are so many reasons to ban gum from the house, such as: a) Kids don't discard gum properly and it ends up embedded in the carpet; b) They blow bubbles that pop and get in their hair; and c) Lots of gum that kids love is sugar-laden and not good for their teeth.
However, a new chewing gum has reached the market that is supposed to be so good for children that parents probably will overlook the other problems. Trident for Kids is made with a supplement called Recaldent, which is touted to help prevent tooth decay. Recaldent, which is also in Trident Advantage gum and mints, is derived from casein, a protein found in milk. According to studies, when acid attacks tooth enamel--usually after eating--Recaldent helps remineralize teeth by adding back the calcium and phosphate that is lost in the acid attack.
Though the concept is theoretically sound, there are no actual studies showing that a kid who regularly chews gum with Recaldent actually will have less tooth decay than a similar kid who doesn't, says Kenneth Burrell, senior director for the Council on Scientific Affairs for the American Dental Assn.
"There is calcium and phosphate in normal saliva that remineralizes the teeth naturally," Burrell says. "Recaldent is thought to push even more calcium and phosphate into the teeth. But the question we would have is whether this is actually working above and beyond what you would see in the natural process."
Nevertheless, Burrell says that a number of scientists are working on substances that can be added to gum, mints, mouthwash, toothpaste or even food to help keep teeth strong.
Now, if someone would just make chocolate tooth-friendly.