Chewing Gum 101

Are you a habitual gum chewer?
Do you use it to freshen your breath?
Help you snack less?

There are many different types and flavors of gums ranging from peppermint to cinnamon and even some that are sugar-free. Although it may seem harmless, there are some potential side effects.

  • May keep you from snacking but can cause you to eat unhealthily — research shows that chewing gum reduces your motivation to eat and your meals tend to be less nutritious – for example, the mint flavor in gum may cause fruits and vegetables to taste bitter.
  • Your jaw may be sore for a long time – chewing gum for a long time can cause a muscle imbalance and lead to TMJ (Temporomandibular Joint Disorder). This can cause pain in your jaw, headaches, and toothaches over time.
  • Stomach aches – when you chew gum, you swallow excess air which can lead to stomach aches and bloat. When you are chewing gum, you are telling your body you are ready to eat and the body releases acids and enzymes that help digest food – with no food present, this can bloating and high acid in your stomach. Another stomach ache could be from any artificial sweeteners used in certain gums.
  • Beware of tooth damage — some gums are sugar-free and some contain sugar. Sugary gums are to be avoided. Sugar-free gums should still be used with caution as the chemicals can lead to dental erosion and eventually cavities.

Like everything, please consume in moderation if you do. If you’re looking for a habit to break, add chewing gum to your list and swap it with a new healthy habit. Try chewing on sunflower or fennel seeds – this will help curb the chewing sensation.