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The Numerous, Scientifically-Proven Health Benefits of Chewing Gum

Chewing gum has a vast history and many cultural meanings. It is considered rude to chew it in front of another person, but oral hygiene companies swear by its health benefits, especially when chewed after a meal. Its sticky presence lines the undersides of school tables, checkout lines in grocery stores, and the soles of our shoes on a hot summer day. While irritating, there are numerous ways to remove gum from clothes. But in this article, we'll dive deep into the scientifically proven health benefits of chewing gum.

What Is Chewing Gum Made Of?

man with glasses smiling and chewing gum

Every candy company has its own secret recipe, but the basis of every chewing gum is the same: a rubber base held together with resin, preservatives, oils, or waxes that keep the rubber from hardening, fillers like calcium carbonate that add texture, as well as colorants and added flavors. Some well-known artificial sweeteners include Aspartame, Saccharin, Sucralose, Mannitol, Maltitol, Sorbitol‌ , and Xylitol. We'll discuss the benefits of Xylitol later on in the article. You can check out this post that demonstrates the process of making bubble gum.

Chewing gum dates back to ancient cultures like the Mayans, the Aztecs, and even the Ancient Greeks - long before the invention of rubber. What did our ancestors chew, then? They chewed on chicle, the raw latex resin that comes from the Sapodilla tree. The tree produces this tasteless and odorless sap to protect itself from injuries.

What Are the Health Benefits of Chewing Gum?

photo of pink toothbrush surrounded by chewing gum, blue background

Reducing Stress & Boosting Memory
The one sensorial pleasure that lasts from infancy into adulthood is chewing. It calms us as much as it calms our babies! Try to think back to a time in your life when you couldn't chew solid food. How miserable was that? Chewing gum increases blood and oxygen flow to the brain, which, in turn, increases brain functioning. It helps calm and sharpen the mind, as well as keeps you alert when you're sleepy.

Aiding in Oral Health & Reducing Heartburn
In addition, chewing gum increases saliva production, which helps lower the acidity in the mouth and the esophagus. This protects your tooth enamel and eases heartburn or acid reflux symptoms as long as the gum you're chewing is either sugar-free or contains Xylitol. Xylitol is a sugar alcohol that doesn't feed the bacteria in your mouth as processed sugar does. It prevents the growth of bacteria that causes tooth decay and bad breath, as research shows. The results are clear: "xylitol-containing chewing gum inhibits the increase in total salivary bacteria over a short time during which the salivary microbial composition is not affected."

And lastly, chewing gum may help you with nausea, especially if it's natural mint or ginger gum. According to WebMD, "This is especially true for motion sickness and morning sickness during pregnancy." Some studies even found that chewing gum helps with intestinal recovery after a C-section!

Now, let's address the elephant in the room: what happens when we mistakenly swallow chewing gum? This video post explains.

Don't Go Overboard

mouth of a woman chewing gum
As with everything we consume, and we do mean everything, the poison is in the dosage. Too much of anything is too much, so don't go chewing gum every waking hour of the day, as it may damage your jaw or digestive system. To be crystal clear, chewing gum for 20 minutes once or twice daily is completely rational and is not considered excessive. The only reservation to this statement is for people who have Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), who may suffer from digestive symptoms caused by artificial sweeteners.
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