Should You Try Tooth-Whitening Gum?

The Claim: Chewing a couple of pieces of gum after eating and drinking may help remove stains for a whiter smile.

Oz Says: Gum won't take your teeth from dingy to Chiclet white. But it may slow down the accumulation of stains or wash away stain-causing foods, says Ed Hewlett, D.D.S., a professor at the UCLA School of Dentistry and an American Dental Association consumer adviser. Some whitening gums contain ingredients like baking soda, a soft abrasive that polishes teeth. But that's not how gum gets most of the job done, because it doesn't touch the outer parts of your teeth much — mostly only the chewing surfaces on molars.

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Here's the secret, says Hewlett: Any gum might prevent stains to a certain degree because chewing it boosts saliva flow, which helps clean food from your mouth and slow the accumulation of stains. Just pick the sugarless kind so you don't create other problems for yourself, and pop a piece after meals, when it can make the biggest brightening difference.

The Verdict: TRY IT

This story originally appeared in the November 2015 issue of Dr. Oz The Good Life.

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