If you chew gum, you may be in luck.

A new study suggests that chewing gum may be as beneficial as flossing. Researchers from the University of Groningen in Holland determined that chewing gum for 10 minutes can remove 100 million bacteria from the mouth. This number is roughly one tenth of the bacteria living in the mouth at any moment.

The information appeared in the journal PLOS One.

The research team looked at the impact of chewing gum for certain periods of time. The team chewed gum for a variety of durations before analyzing their mouths with an electron microscope. The researchers then did tests on their gums after chewing the gum.

They concluded that sugar-free gum was beneficial when chewed up to 10 minutes. But chewing gum for longer than the 10-minute period reversed the good work because the bacteria gathered around the gums and was later redistributed into the mouth.

Also, there is clearly nothing beneficial about chewing gum if it contains sugar.