If you love chewing gum more than Roald Dahl's Violet Beauregarde, we have good news for you.
Researchers from the University of Groningen in the Netherlands found that a single piece of gum can trap up to 10% of the bacteria in your mouth.
The study, published in the journal PLOS ONE, asked volunteers to chew two commercially available spearmint chewing gums.
Participants were asked to chew gum for varying amounts of time for a maximum of 10 minutes, before swabs of their saliva were taken.
The researchers found that a single piece of gum can trap up to 100 million bacteria, making gum as effective as flossing.
More types of bacteria but in smaller quantities were found in gum that was chewed for a longer period of time, suggesting that bacteria is released back into the mouth during prolonged chewing.
However, the researchers noted that gum doesn't necessarily remove bacteria from all parts of the mouth.
"Chewing however, does not necessarily remove bacteria from the same sites of the dentition as does brushing or flossing, therefore its results may be noticeable on a more long-term than those of brushing or flossing," the study states.
This isn't the first study to suggest gum does something other than beat bad breath. In 2008, an investigation into the effects of gum on mood found that chewing can relieve anxiety, improve alertness and reduce stress during episodes of multitasking.