10 Surprising Benefits of Chewing Gum for Your Mind & Body
Everybody enjoys chewing gums; they would pop one while driving, relaxing, after a meal or simply to enjoy their oral fixation with something sweet. While you might already know that chewing gum is good for the teeth and keeping the mouth fresh, they also have a number of other surprising health benefits. Continue reading for all the pros of chewing gum that you need to be aware of.
What Are The Advantages of Chewing Gum?
Like all things, when done excessively, chewing gum can have negative effects such as jaw strain or migraines in some people. However, positive effects of chewing gum can be reaped with moderate use every day. Here are some of the advantages of chewing gum:
1. Prevents Cavities and Improves Oral Health
This is probably the one fact about chewing gum that most people know; it’s good for your teeth. Sugar-free gum is known in particular to be effective in preventing tooth decay with its effects being similar to mouthwash and toothpaste that contain fluoride. Chewing on a sugarless gum just for 20 minutes after a meal can keep teeth decay and gingivitis at bay. Basically, it works by increasing secretion of saliva in the mouth and removing food particles and acids on the teeth, which would otherwise lead to tooth decay. Saliva further helps keep the enamel strong by supplying it with calcium and phosphate to strength it. This means the teeth have greater resistance to decay and cavities. To give an extra boost to prevent teeth decay, choose gums with xylitol that come with extra minerals to strengthen the teeth. (1)
2. Eases Acid Reflux
Acid reflux is a complicated problem where the stomach acids move up the oesophagus (food pipe) and chest congestion while damaging it simultaneously, which gives rise to the familiar burning sensation in the throat or chest. Surprisingly, chewing gum is a good way to ease acid reflux by clearing up the food pipe and neutralising the acids to give some relief. One study shows that chewing gum clears up the oesophagus by increasing the swallowing reflex and neutralising the acids as the gum makes the saliva more alkaline. This means the acid reflux is reduced to give you a soothing relief while reducing inflammation.
3. Improves Digestion
While chewing gum has no direct influence on the digestive process, chewing gum before a meal actually improves digestion. This happens because the chewing action stimulates the mouth to produce saliva and the stomach to produce digestive acids effectively preparing the system for a meal. Therefore not only will it ease in swallowing food but also improves digestion by getting the stomach ready. Chewing gum after a meal not only helps keep the mouth healthy but also helps in avoiding indigestion by further stimulating the digestive process.
4. Fights Nausea
People who are prone to morning or motion sickness can get great relief by chewing on a piece of gum, especially the herbal types that have ginger in them to aid in salivary production and digestion. Surprisingly, a recent study even shows that chewing gum can be just as effective as prescription drugs for nausea. It’s also worthwhile to note that chewing gums are frequently prescribed after a major bowel surgery by surgeons to help stimulate the digestive system. More studies back up this practice as an effective intervention thanks to its lack of side effects and low cost.
5. Helps manage weight by improving eating habits
Chewing gum is a good way to keep your cravings at bay when you are trying to lose weight. Popping a sugar-free gum when you feel cravings for a sugary snack is a good way to immediately reward yourself without all the additional calories and tricking your brain according to studies. This is also an excellent way for you to stop yourself from mindless nibbles of high-calorie snacks while watching TV or relaxing. Therefore if you’re looking to ward off your food cravings, grab a stick of gum instead of a sugary treat to cut out all the unnecessary calories.
6. Improves Memory and Cognitive Performance
If you’re engaged in a brain-intensive task, you could do better by chewing gum for brain. One study shows that chomping on gum while the subjects were involved in a range of tests improved memory and cognitive function, helping them do better than the control group who didn’t chew gum. It is believed that the increased heart rate and blood flow to the brain is responsible for the boost observed. Medical tests showed increased brain activity in the hippocampus, which is an area responsible for concentration and reaction times due to increased oxygen supply to the brain.
7. Lowers Stress and Anxiety
If you’ve ever been nervous or anxious, you will notice that you shake your legs or bite your nails for comfort, chewing gum in stressful situations works more or less the same. Chewing on a piece of gum is just as good a way to release your nervous energy and a better substitute for your instinctive nervousness habits. One study from 2011 showed that participants found that those who chewed gum twice a day for two weeks reported significantly lowered anxiety levels than non-chewers. They also found lower fatigue levels and higher moods in gun-chewers. It is thought that chewing gum has a calming effect because of the reduction in stress hormone cortisol it brings to the people.
8. Increases Alertness
Many people cannot function at their best unless they have six to eight hours of sleep, and it’s often the case that they miss that all-important sleep. Instead of chugging coffee and popping caffeine pills, you can get plenty of alertness by chewing a stick of gum. Studies show that chewing gum and the associated jaw movement combats sleepiness during the day by increasing brain activity. The constant stimulation of the nerves linked to the arousal increases blood flow to the brain, making you more alert. Mint flavoured gums are extra effective in helping you keep fresh and alert throughout.
9. Eases Ear Blockages
Many people find it uncomfortable to fly in as the pressurised cabin can block the ears or cause irritation and pain. A good way to relieve this is with a pack of gum. Instead of pinching your nose and trying to blow your ears clear, chewing a stick of gum will naturally help the air pressure in the ear equalize with the outside pressure. It is also an effective remedy to drain water that gets clogged in the ears after a shower or a swim. Chewing motion helps clear the sinus cavities and push the liquids further out, clearing the ear.
10. Prevents Dry Mouth and Freshens Breath
One of the reasons your mouth stinks is due to the lack of salivary flow and the growth of excess bacteria that follows. Chewing gum stimulates your salivary glands and keeps your mouth fresh all day while killing the nasty bacteria. A sugar-free mint flavours gum is all you need is a fresh feel in your mouth throughout the day.
Here we answer some FAQs about chewing gum:
1. How Long should I Chew Gum to Get Chiseled Jawline?
Although there are no studies to show conclusively that chewing gum improves your jawline, the basic principle behind chewing gum benefits for face is similar to how exercising improves the shape of the body to make it look appealing. Chewing gum regularly exercises the jaw muscle Masseter that controls chewing motion. One or two hours a day of chewing gum is on the acceptable side; if you over do it, it can lead to temporomandibular joint dysfunction.
2. How Many Pieces of Gum Should I Chew in a Day to Get the Maximum Benefits?
You can chew a minimum of three pieces of gum a day, one after every meal for the best results for your teeth. Another gum or two during the day should be fine for the rest of the health benefits. If you reach number such as fifteen of twenty chewing gums a day, that’s the danger zone.
This brings us to the question is chewing gum good for health? The answer is mostly yes; when you chew gum in moderation. When you begin to notice the positive effects, it’s best to stick to that and not try to over-do it.
Also Read: Best Ways to Remove Chewing Gum from Clothes