chewing gum

Is Chewing Gum Bad For Your Teeth?

Early civilizations suggest to us that chewing gum is not something new. Archeologists and geneticists can get a better glimpse of how our ancestors lived with this ancient chewing gum. They can also tell what illnesses they had and how they might have looked like.

How so, you may ask? Encased in the birch pitch is genetic material, presumably from prehistoric saliva. Aside from this, scientists also learned a bit about the subject’s diet. This is thanks to a few remnants of their last meal. (You could imagine, then, what archeologists of the future might determine from the chewing gum we leave behind.)

The modernization and commercialization of chewing gum began in the United States when New England settlers picked up the practice of the American Indians. The American Indians would chew resin made from the sap of spruce trees. Maine businessman John B. Curtis is credited for developing and selling the first commercial chewing gum in 1848. He named this the State of Maine Pure Spruce Gum.

Presently, chewing gum remains to be a well-known confectionery product. However, it is believed the global chewing gum market will be worth 32.63 billion US dollars by 2019.

What is chewing gum?

Chewing gum tends to have a rubber-like texture. It is intended to be chewed and spitted. Sweeteners, plasticizers or softeners, coloring, and flavoring are also included. 

Why do people chew gum?

Many use it for fresher breath, particularly with mint gum. Some enjoy that it helps them concentrate when they are working or studying. Others love the wide range of flavors, textures, shapes, sizes, and gum packaging. Finally, getting to blow bubbles is their favorite part of chewing gum for some folks.

Is chewing gum good for you?

Studies have tied chewing gum with migraines due to the artificial sweetener aspartame sometimes found in the product. Another study suggested that the prolonged chewing of gum can lead to migraines. Migraine headaches are among the top 20 most crippling illnesses in the world.

Still, a lot of research suggests chewing gum has its benefits. These benefits include warding off food cravings; improving brain and digestive function; and relieving stress, acid reflux, and heartburn.

  • Fewer food cravings. According to a study by Louisiana State University, those who chew gum after a meal had fewer food cravings throughout the day than those who did not. As a result, this makes them less likely to consume high-calorie foods.
  • Boosts memory. Chewing gumo improves memory and cognitive performance by increasing blood flow to the brain. In turn, this results in a higher amount of oxygen being delivered to the brain. An increase in the oxygen supply to the brain increases its overall efficiency.
  • Relaxing. It’s also known to help ease tension and release nervous energy. This can reduce the stress hormone cortisol in the body. Too much cortisol can otherwise cause high glucose and a higher risk of infections, among other complications.
  • Aids digestion. Additionally, chewing gum helps improve the digestive system as it stimulates saliva flow, both promoting easier swallowing and activating the digestive process.
  • Helps ease acid reflux. By chewing after a meal, the acid in the esophagus is reduced, relieving acid reflux and symptoms of heartburn.

What makes chewing gum terrible for the teeth?

Gum with added sugar is bad for the teeth as the sugar found in the gum can heighten the production of oral bacteria that can lead to cavities.

Still, fans don’t need not worry. There are plenty of gums available without the harmful effects of sugar. According to studies, sugarless chewing gums are beneficial to teeth, clean the teeth, reduce decay-causing bacteria, and strengthen the enamel.

  • Kills bacteria. According to an article from Medical Daily, chewing sugarless gum can kill 100 million bacteria in as fast as ten minutes.
  • Prevents dental caries and gum disease. Meanwhile, the American Dental Association reported that chewing sugarless gum for 20 minutes following a meal can reduce the risk of tooth decay and gum disease as it triggers saliva production in the mouth.
  • Cleans your mouth. Due to the increased saliva production in your mouth, leftover food particles are washed away, and acids are neutralized.
  • Strengthens enamel. Another benefit of chewing sugarless gum is its ability to enhance the enamel by triggering saliva flow in the mouth. The saliva contains calcium and phosphate, which support the strengthening of the outer layer of the teeth.

Still, despite the benefits of chewing sugarless gum, remember that it will never serve as a replacement for proper oral care.

What should you do for better teeth?

Moderation will always be the key. Don’t strain your muscles and cause problems like temporomandibular jaw joint disorder. Also, use sugarless gum to avoid the harm added sugar can give your teeth and other body parts.

Make sure to partner with the benefits of a sugarless gum with the help of proper oral hygiene. Brush your teeth at least twice daily for two minutes. However, do not simply pick up the toothpaste and brush away. Instead, practice proper brushing, including applying the correct pressure, duration, angle, and stroke for best results.

Flossing will also help free your teeth from food particles that may have stuck between your teeth and reaching areas that brushing may have missed. Finish off with a mouth rinse for optimum oral care.

Most importantly, visit your dentist at least twice a year for your biannual dental visits.


Can Gum Chewing Cause Migraine Headaches?

Although exact causes are not known, migraines can have genetic causes. For others, migraines can be triggered by lack of sleep or poor nourishment, stress, strong odors, alcohol, MSG (commonly found in food), or even chocolate.

Recent studies, however, have identified another cause of migraines, particularly affecting adolescents and young adults: chewing gum. The reason for the latter linkage varies depending on the study.

Some suggest aspartame, an artificial sweetener used in many brands, could be the culprit. In contrast, another study performed by Meir Medical Center at the University of Tel Aviv suggests that chewing gum for an extended length of time could be the cause.

The study was conducted on 30 children, ages six- to 19-years-old. They were all regular migraine sufferers and all chewed gum regularly for at least an hour a day. All 30 participants quit chewing gum for one month. 19 children reported that they hadn’t experienced headaches or migraines at the end of the month. Seven said that they had fewer headaches or weren’t as severe.

To back up the theory, 20 of the participants were then told to go back to chewing gum regularly for two weeks. Again, every one of them reported that their symptoms returned in a matter of days.

This study believes that because the flavor doesn’t last for an extended time, the aspartame isn’t to blame. They suggest that the continual chewing motion puts an undue amount of strain on the temporomandibular joint, or the TMJ. The TMJ is the joint where the jaw and skull meet, which allows one to chew. Misalignment, stress, or strain on the TMJ can cause varying degrees of head and neck pain.

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