If given the choice between gum sweetened with sugar versus xylitol, choose xylitol. Xylitol is a sugar alcohol naturally found in the fibers of many fruits and vegetables. It is used to sweeten sugar-free items such as chewing gum. Although xylitol has been found to be safe for human consumption, it is toxic to dogs and wild birds.
Chewing gum sweetened with xylitol is beneficial because it stimulates salivary flow, which will help to cleanse the mouth of bacteria. It may also keep decay at bay and help to remineralize enamel.
Chewing gum should not take the place of proper brushing and flossing. Brushing two times per day, flossing daily, and regularly visiting your dentist is important for a healthy mouth.