A Sticky Situation?
Is gum chewing a healthy or dangerous habit? This is a question which we are asked quite often. And the answer is…..both! Here are some facts about gum chewing, and we’ll let you decide the answer!
Many gums contain sugar, which may taste great, but cause tooth decay (cavities) and other health-related problems. Why would anyone choose to smash sugar directly against their teeth?
Sugar-free gums don’t contain any ingredients which rot your teeth, and the chewing stimulates the flow of saliva, which may actually help prevent cavities.
Gum chewing can cause inflammation and discomfort in the temperomandibular joint (TMJ) – the joint which connects your lower jaw to your skull. This can trigger a syndrome which includes pain, headaches, earaches and toothaches!
Gum can help freshen the breath after eating stinky foods such as onions and garlic, and relieve dry mouth, which also can promote gross mouth odors. (Bad breath that is present on a constant basis is usually a sign of a more serious dental problem.)
Gum chewing can cause some unwanted and embarrassing problems at the other end! “Chewing gum can contribute to Irritable Bowel Syndrome, as excess air can be swallowed, which contributes to abdominal pain and bloating,” says Dr. Patrick Takahashi, chief of gastroenterology at St. Vincent Medical Center, Los Angeles, California. In addition to swallowing air, artificial sweeteners such as sorbitol and mannitol can cause diarrhea in otherwise healthy people.
According to studies performed by the British Psychological Society, gum chewing increases blood flow to the brain and actually can help with alertness and memory!
While many think that gum chewing curbs the appetite, a recent study in the Journal of Eating Behavior reports that chewing minty gum makes one reduce the intake of healthy foods such as fruit, and increase consumption of potato chips and other junk food. (We wonder what a Doritos flavored gum would do!!)
Chewing sugar-free gum can actually reduce the amount of plaque on your teeth and neutralize harmful mouth acids, causing a reduction in cavities.
So what do you think? At Caring Smiles Family Dentistry, we feel that chewing sugar-free gum in moderation can be a healthy habit as long as it doesn’t cause TMJ discomfort or other side effects. Whether you should chew gum during your next job interview – well that’s your call!!
If you have any questions about this or any other dental issues, or would like to make an appointment for a dental exam, cleaning, or consultation, please give us a call at 248.973.8788. We are here for you!
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