Chewing Gum

Reasons And Risks of Chewing Gum Often

People chew gum for a variety of reasons. For some chewing gum is the alternative to a breath freshener, tooth-brushing or a mouthwash to rid our breath of that nasty food odor. Sometimes, we chew gum to avoid cravings, and sometimes we’re just feeling uncomfortable or stressed, so we reach for a piece of gum. This habit is doing more bad than good, and here’s what gum chewing can do to our health.

Gum chewing habitually may negatively impacts dental health. Chewing gum is usually loaded with sugar which harmful bacteria digest to turn to acid destroying enamel. The prolonged contact of these sugars with your teeth increases the amount of plaque buildup and cause tooth decay to occur over time.

Chewing gum during times of high stress can cause TMJ dysfunction. The temporomandibular joint, which joins your jaw and its muscles to the rest of the skull will hurt every time you try to move your jaw away from its typical closed alignment. It will be painful to chew, or even yawn, and everything else related to moving your mouth and jaw.

There is constant compression in your jaw from excessive chewing and, aside from causing TMJ disorders, it also increases the number of tension headaches you experience and their frequency. It’s worse if you already have frequent migraines and headaches caused by other situations.

Though chewing gum can relieve nausea or an upset stomach, it can make these unpleasant symptoms worse. People may not realize it but when you chew gum, you swallow a bunch of little sips of air over time, filling your stomach with gas. All the more will your stomach bloat and make your tummy feel even more distended than before. Your indigestion problems will get worse.

Sugarless gum might be better due to its low caloric content, but not for those who have sensitive stomach issues or digestive problems. The artificial sweeteners in gum are sugar alcohols that behave like laxatives, causing cramping, digestive distress and even diarrhea. Those with irritable bowel syndrome (or IBS) are advised not to take products that contain a significant amount of sugar alcohols, not just chewing gum.

Many chew gum to curb their weight or to avoid snacking, but unbeknownst to most, the brain is led to thinking that the body actually is hungry because of the constant chewing motion. This might lead you to crave more and eat more. Also, the mint gum flavor makes you crave for junk foods rather than healthy options. It’s not the best dieting plan.

Ask Dr. Jaime Lee

We’ve got better advice for you other than chewing gum for optimal gum health over here at our office in downtown Seattle. See us at Smile Art for a consultation and learn more.