Can Chewing Gum Actually Give You Bad Breath?

When you have bad breath, you usually reach for a piece of gum or a mint, but what if it's not actually helping, but rather making your breath worse off than before? Here, our experts reveal how to make sure you're chewing the right one so this doesn't happen to you.

“Chewing gums offer a quick cover-up for bad breath, but they don’t actually remove the bacteria that causes it,” says New York cosmetic dentist Irwin Smigel, DDS. Sometimes, gum can instigate the growth of bacteria in the mouth, too, making bad breath even worse. “If the gum contains sugar, the bacteria in your mouth think that you are giving them a sweet treat to munch on,” says Atlanta cosmetic dentist Ronald E. Goldstein, DDS. “But, even if the gum is sugar-free, bacteria can multiply.” 

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So how can you prevent this from happening? Dr. Smigel recommends buying gum that contains xylitol, an ingredient that has been shown to inhibit bacteria and plaque. "Make sure it’s near the top of the ingredient list on the packaging, so the amount will be beneficial,” he adds.