A lot of people chew gum habitually and mindlessly, chewing away for hours each day, but have you ever thought about the effects chewing gum may have on your health? Today we talk about the pros and cons of chewing gum.

Relieve Heartburn

Gum chewing can actually relieve heartburn! All that extra saliva produced from chewing can balance out stomach acid. It also can help keep fluids in the stomach, or push them back there at least, which also counters acid that has leaked into the esophagus. In fact, chewing sugar-free gum for 30 minutes can bring as much as three hours of relief. There are even healthy (healthier) choices of chewing gum today (aside from gum with common sugar substitutes, which might not be that healthy); some are organic as well as sugar-free!

Alleviate Bad Breath

Having extra saliva can help to reduce the number of bacteria. Since bacteria can cause bad breath, chewing gum can make your breath sweeter, and not just because the gum smell masks bad breath, but because your breath actually changes! No wonder people pop a piece of gum before a date.

Helps Lose Weight

This seemingly mindless activity can actually help you lose weight by preventing another mindless activity- comfort eating- something many of us do when we are not happy or just bored. This leads to weight gain (unless there is a type of comfort exercise to go along with this that I have not heard of!) so stopping the habit can lead to weight loss. Chewing gum can also reduce appetite, cravings, and snacking.

The Cons

On the downside, there are some cons to chewing gum, such as excess wear, tooth decay, and the danger of biting your tongue (!), especially in an aging mouth of weaker teeth. Sugarless minimizes tooth decay. Some people also say that gum causes stomach bloating and gas; although this doesn’t affect everyone.

The last con of chewing gum is that it can further irritate the jaws of people with TMJ, or Temporo Mandibular Joint syndrome. This painful condition results from damage to the joint that connects the jaw to the skull. Damage can result from tooth grinding, being hit, and…maybe, chewing gum!?

For some, the pros of chewing gum outweigh the cons. What about you, would a piece of gum make your day better, or worse?

Contact us at Paradigm Dental for more information and ideas.

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