Every one of us, at some point of time (most possibly every day), eat chewing gum. But do you eat them knowing the chewing gum benefits or just consume it just because? If your answer is the latter, then this article can leave you mind-boggled knowing there is not just one but multiple benefits of chewing gum with respect to one’s health.
It is not shocking that not many people are unaware of the health benefits of chewing gum. This is primarily because no one thinks one could actually gain anything beneficial from a “toffee”, now, did they?
Sit back and hold tight because in this article, we are going to be discussing some of the unknown benefits of chewing gum (and a few side effects too).
What is Chewing Gum?
It consists of seven distinct base ingredients that are combined to make the chewing gums that we absentmindedly munch on.
Gum: this is the rubber and the non-digestible part of the chewing gum that gives it the distinct chewiness that we tend to like a lot.
Resin: the resin is much like the gum because it contributes to holding the shape of the gum and to strengthen it so that it doesn’t lose its shape after packaging.
Fillers: these are the artificial additives like that of calcium compounds and talc which add a bit of texture to the gum.
Softeners: now, nobody like a hard as rock gum, do they? The softeners are what ensure that the gum retains the necessary moisture so it is chewy and not rock hard. Some common softeners include paraffin wax and vegetable oils etc.
Preservatives: a majority of the chewing gums include the compound butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT) which is added to these chewing gums to extend their shelf life.
Sweeteners and flavourings: these two compounds are the primary ones that vary from brand to brand depending on their choice of flavourings and the kind of sweetener they want to add (if they want to add any). Sometimes these flavours are either natural or even synthetic. Some of the common types of sweeteners include sugar, corn syrup, beet syrup etc. and the non-sugar ones usually contain artificial sweeteners like aspartame.
Is Chewing Gum Bad or Good for You?
The most asked question regarding chewing gums, apart from what happens if you swallow it is if it is actually good or bad for your health.
And as much of a shock, it might be, the consumption of chewing gums is actually beneficial for one’s health because it boots a number of health and cognitive abilities without you even knowing it.
Chewing gum benefits actually extend to the overall boost of one’s health. From helping you lose weight to aiding in improving your memory and concentration, the benefits of chewing gum are definitely what explains why these condiments are actually good for you and not as bad as how many people tend to portray it as.
What Are The Benefits Of Chewing Gum?
Now that we have touched bases with a few aspects of why chewing gums are actually good for one’s health, let us walk ourselves through the common ground of benefits of chewing gum that many people are not even possibly aware of.
1. Chewing Gum Benefits for Acid Reflux
Acid reflux is primarily caused because of the heightened levels of stomach acids without the presence of sufficient amount of food in the stomach. This excess splurge of stomach acid often tends to travel up the GI tract and create a burning sensation which is what acid reflux is characterized by.
Chewing gum tends to increase the production of saliva (R) in the oral cavity that helps flush down the upsurge of stomach acids, thereby reducing the burning sensation (R) that many feels. If you are experiencing symptoms of acid reflux and are opting for a chewing gum, try and ensure that you stick to the fruity flavours and stay wary of the mint flavours (as enticing as it may seem like).
2. Chewing Gum Benefits for Weight Loss
The approach to weight loss with the consumption of chewing gums is rather vivid and multifaceted. While you may not understand the severity of how a small strip of chewing gum can possibly contribute to weight loss, it actually does contribute to the process of it which is more than explanatory.
Chewing gums are not loaded with ample amount of sugar and are surprisingly low in calories, the combination of which should be more than telling as to why the consumption of this might not be that much of a bad idea for weight loss after all.
If you are someone who lives off of the concept of snacking on “unhealthy foods” every few hours, chewing gum benefits your lifestyle. Studies (R) (R) have shown that the consumption of chewing gum post meal tends to curb the desire of snacking by 10% which is a pretty decent amount.
But the most important approach to how chewing gum benefits in weight loss is by increasing one’s metabolic rate (R). As absurd as it may sound, it was found in a study (R) that the people who chewed the gums had a better rate of metabolism while the metabolism of the “non-chewers” lagged by a whopping 19%.
So, the bottom line can be concluded that the consumption of chewing gums can actually aid in the process of weight loss.
3. Chewing Gum Benefits for Stress and Anxiety
Who would have actually thought or realized that the process of chewing gum could actually be a remedy for stress and anxiety, right? But, study (R) shows that the chewing a gum while your mind is running 100 miles an hour and you are suffering from extensive stress is a good remedy.
If scientifically spoken, the consumption of chewing gum tends to control the levels of cortisol (R) in an individual, thereby reducing the levels of stress gradually.
When people are stressed or have peaked levels of anxiety, there first tendency is to clench their jaws to combat the levels of a hyped adrenaline rush. Chewing gum tends to help cope with the situation all the while ensuring to combat the levels of cortisol in the body as well.
It also tends to lift up one’s mood (R) from the negative spectrum to positive which is definitely yet another contributing factor.
4. Chewing Gum Benefits for Bad Breath
This specific benefit of chewing gum doesn’t necessarily need a separate introduction, now, does it? Majority of the people consume gum to combat the problem of halitosis (R), otherwise commonly termed as bad breath.
The consumption of chewing gum for combating bad breath is a temporary fix (R) and lasts for as long as the flavor of the gum lasts. There are chances that you might be witnessing the signs and symptoms of bad breath for some other underlying oral health disease like that of dry mouth or even plaque. If those are the cases, it is always best to ensure that you consult a doctor before the situation gets out of hand.
But, yes, the benefits of chewing gum for bad breath are beneficial if you are looking for a short term result. If scientific terms are to be brought in, it is believed that the generation of saliva owing to the chewing of the gums is what keeps the bad breath at bay.
5. Chewing Gum Benefits for Concentration
The health benefits of chewing gum extend to cognitive functioning of the body like that of concentration as well. If you here wondering that I just made this up, well I didn’t.
Chewing gum actually does help keep one concentrated in the work that they are doing. The study (R) which was published on the British Journey of Psychology by researchers from the Cardiff University clearly explained how the process of chewing gum sure did boost one’s concentration in the long haul throughout the activity.
While the subjects who were not chewing gum did better in the beginning in comparison, the same completely changed when the task neared a closed end. It aligns your focus and concentration to the work that you are doing and ensures to avoid any kind of diversion which is exactly how it helps contribute to keeping one’s concentration fixated.
6. Chewing Gum Benefits to Make You Smarter
Would you believe me if I said that chewing gum actually does make you smarter, like, improve your brain functions? Sounds a bit farfetched, doesn’t it? That being said, it is necessary to know for a fact that chewing gum actually does contribute to boosting one’s cognitive performance (R) and that too, amazingly.
Studies have shown that chewing gum actually does benefit and boost one’s mood and improves their cognitive abilities and brain functioning. Chewing gum also tends to improve one’s concentration which further adds to the list of how it actually does help in boosting one’s sharpness.
Gums also tend to sharpen memory (R), thereby making the retention of information longer and ensuring a better result when it comes to cognitive capabilities.
7. Chewing Gum Benefits for Memory
Yet another amazing benefit of chewing gum is that it is an amazing facilitator of boosting one’s memory (R), especially the long-term memory (R) Researchers have exclaimed that the findings are definitely a lot intriguing and interesting which is definitely something that has left them digging more into it.
While the results and the reasons behind them are very skeptical and not scalable enough, there is no possible reasoning as to exactly how it affects one’s memory. A researcher from the University of Northumbria in New Castle said that they are speculating the entire mechanism to be something mediated by the insulin release when one chews gum.
It is believed that when one chews gum, there is a rise in the levels of insulin in the body which might have some correlations with the improved brain functioning (R) of an individual. But, still, then, these are nothing but speculations.
There have been studies that have shown the stark difference between the people who chewed gums and the ones who didn’t and while the results are promising, researchers are still on the lookout for what the actual reasoning behind the process is.
8. Chewing Gum Benefits for Nausea
The concept behind chewing gum as a potent treatment for nausea is considered to be more effective in comparison to the administration of the common anti-nausea medicines. Doctors and researchers say that the chewing gums tend to send mixed signals to the brain, thereby helping combat the situation.
When a person chews gum, it sends signals to the brain that the person is possibly eating which is what contributes to making the feeling of nausea go away. This is a form of secondary triggering much like how one rubs vigorously over a bruise to get rid of the pain.
So, if you are feeling nauseous, pop a strip of mint gum and that should help curb the problem for good. There are even studies (R) that help understand the relation between abdominal discomfort, nausea and chewing gum to combat that.
9. Chewing Gum Benefits for Constipation
The natural and non-toxic as well as sugar free chewing gums which have the compound xylitol (R) in them are very effective in relieving the symptoms of constipation. If you didn’t know better, xylitol is a natural sugar that is well tolerated by the gut of an individual. This helps contribute to the loosening of the stools that can otherwise because of constipation.
All that being said, you can chew on a few strips of the xylitol (R) included gums throughout the day to enjoy beneficial effects in relieving the harsh symptoms of constipation. Apart from that, it is also best to opt for a healthier lifestyle that encircles around good diet and active lifestyle to contribute to a better bowel movement.
10. Chewing Gum Benefits for Improving Alertness
The benefits of chewing gum, as mentioned before, have pronounced effects on one’s cognitive performance. It sharpens their sense of cognition and improves not just memory and concentration but has impactful results in enhancing one’s alertness (R).
If you are wondering how, there is a lack of scientific evidence to prove that for a fact but that results of it are definitely telling, in the fact that the objectives of these conducted studies are true. It is only that the mechanism is not completely clear and is still being worked upon.
11. Chewing Gum Benefits for Cavities
Before we jump straight into claiming the health benefits of chewing gum for cavities, let us not get ahead of ourselves.
If you want to ensure that the chewing gum actually does help treat your cavities (R) and other oral problems, you need to ensure that it is the sugar free kind, the one which consists of non-cavity causing sweeteners like that of aspartame, sorbitol etc. If the gum is loaded with artificial sweeteners, chances are that it would make the cavities worse rather than the complete opposite of it.
The chewing of gum (R) increases the secretion of saliva in the oral cavity which helps keep it moist and washes away the deposited plaque acid, thereby getting rid of the tooth decay and the associated problems.
12. Chewing Gum Benefits for Ear Infections
As odd as it might sound, the process of chewing gum effectively helps with ear infections too and that is not just a made up story but a scientifically proven fact. While eating or chewing something is possibly the last thing anyone wants when they are suffering from an ear infection, trying this method might actually be beneficial.
That being said, it is necessary to ensure that the chewing gum you are opting for actually has xylitol in it because that is what contributes to the process of recovery. A study (R) even shows its positive mechanism in treating the infections that kids often face in their middle ears.
13. Chewing Gum Benefits for Quitting Smoking
The correlation between chewing gum and quitting smoking doesn’t require a separate explanation, now, does it? Nicotine gums have been a raving rage in the market right now and all for the right reasons aren’t they?
Quitting smoking like cold turkey isn’t something that many people are determined enough to do. If you are one of them, you must have taken the aid of these nicotine gums which are a much healthier option for people who are looking for ways to actually quit smoking.
The chewing gum helps with the craving of nicotine (R) that a heavy smoker goes through. It decreases the sudden rush of wanting nicotine which is how one gets rid of the habit of smoking. It is necessary to understand that the same doesn’t necessarily happen overnight but actually does take time.
14. Chewing Gum Benefits for Reducing Face Fat
Having some muscle to the face and check and around the neck is actually a good thing but if you are someone who has quite a lot of fat accumulated around your face, especially on the cheeks and the chin area, chewing gums can actually help burn down the fat around the area of the face, thereby contributing to providing you with a toned face.
Munching on a gum is actually considered as an effective exercise for face toning and getting rid of the excess deposited fat around the cheeks and chin.
The chewing gum for face benefits it by actually augmenting the physical activity near the near which is what contributes to shaping and toning the muscles that are present on the face.
Chewing a gum exerts pressure on the muscles in and around the face, which is what ends up contributing to the extending and distending the muscles around the face, thus making it appear slimmer and much more toned. This is especially beneficial in toning the appearance of the double chin that can often time be very embarrassing for a number of people.
What Are The Side Effects Of Chewing Gum?
Everything is good until it is done or consumed in limits and in permissible quantities. Nothing too much is ever good for one’s health and the same applies to chewing gum as well. Make sure that if you want to enjoy the health benefits of chewing gum, you are doing it in consideration and not over-consuming it.
1. Presence of Laxatives and FODMAPs
Now, before we proceed further, let me explain a bit about the two primary terms in the sub-category. Laxatives are compounds which help regulate the bowel movement and FODMAPs which are the small chain carbohydrates that have a rather bad digestion process in the body.
The majority of the sugar alcohols that are used to sweeten the “non sugar” chewing gums are loaded with laxative properties. So, if you are suffering from diarrhea or anything associated with that, it is best to stay wary of excess chewing of the gums.
On the other hand, the FODMAPs present in some of the sugar free chewing gums can induce problems for people who suffer from Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS).
2. Sugar from the Gum is Bad for the Teeth and Metabolism
The correlation between the artificial sweeteners and oral cavity doesn’t really need a separate explanation, now, does it? The sugar in these gums often tends to aggravate the condition of the bad bacteria in the mouth which can cause halitosis and several other dental problems.
The excess consumption of the sugar via the gums often tend to also affect the metabolism rate of an individual which is definitely yet another contributing factor to the list of side effects of chewing gums.
3. It Can Cause Problems With One’s Jaw
Excessive chewing of gum often tends to affect one’s jaw as well, causing a condition known as temporomandibular disorder (TMD) (R) in which the patient experiences a sharp pain in their jaw while they are chewing.
This is not a very prevalent side effect and is considered as one of the rarest diseases but there have been studies (R) which have shown the relation between chewing and the possible contraction of this disease.
4. It Can Cause Headaches
People who are prone to conditions like a migraine and chronic headaches can often end up making the situation worse if they continuously chew gums for extended periods of time. It is especially advised to migraine patients to stay wary of how much gum they are chewing because the consistent chewing might often trigger a migraine, thus giving you a bad experience to endure.
Even study (R) shows that the excessive chewing of gums often tends to contribute to problems like these encircling headache and such which does nothing but aggravate the situation further.
Which Type Of Chewing Gum Do You Need To Choose?
If you are someone who suffers from Irregular bowel syndrome, try and stick to the variants that are sweetened with stevia instead of xylitol because this compound is loaded with excessive concentration of FODMAPs which are not good for one’s health.
Even as trivial as it sounds, make sure that you are reading the label of the gum before consuming it to ensure that it doesn’t contain ingredients that could cause possible ill effects to your body.
Food For Thought With Some FAQs
A: Not necessarily. But, the moment you start relying on the sugar loaded chewing gums to munch on, that’s where the problem arises from. Try and cut down the consumption of the chewing gums which has sugar in it, instead, switch to the ones that are sugar free and won’t necessarily contribute to cavities and other oral problems.
2. Does Chewing Gum Make You Fat?
A: No, chewing gum doesn’t necessarily is the cause behind your weight gain. There can be a number of other underlying reasons that could be the contributing factor to your weight gain which is why it is best to assess those problems and not necessarily target chewing gum as the cause because it doesn’t necessarily have a lot of calories to be a reason behind making you fat.
3. Does Chewing Gum Make You Hungry?
A: If you are thinking that chewing gum will actually trick your body into making sure its full, then you are slightly mistaken because that is not the case. Chewing gum actually insinuates the stomach that food is coming down the GI tract which is why it starts producing gastric juices, thereby making you hungry in the process.
4. Does Chewing Gum Cause Gas and Bloating?
A: If you are munching on a gum in empty or an almost empty stomach, chances are that your body is getting tricked into thinking that there’s food coming when in reality, it is not. Thus, an empty stomach starts producing the gastric acids and juices only for no food to use them on. This is what sometimes results in causing acidity and bloating in the stomach.
5. Can You Swallow Your Gum?
A: The question should be more like, “Should you swallow your gum?” The answer is no. You shouldn’t swallow your gum because the persistent swallowing of it often times tend to block the parts of the GI tract, thereby contributing to constipation or some other form of digestive problems.