11 Reasons You Should Stop Chewing Gum NOW!

Over the centuries, human beings have evolved on many fronts. One thing is for sure – that we are not like “cows” who bring up their food for hours and keep on chewing and digesting it. Why then do we as human beings resort to continuous “Cow-like” chewing…..via chewing gum? After practicing dentistry for 20+ years, I now encourage all my patients to break free from the habit of chewing gum as fast as possible. Knowledge is very powerful and priceless once you understand why something is good or bad for your body. 

Here are 11 reasons why you want to quit chewing gum as soon as possible

Direct negative impact on teeth:

• More Cavities: Chewing gum is marketed for its effectiveness in cleaning teeth after meals to reduce cavities. Well research has now shown that chewing gum actually pushes food and bacteria deeper inside the teeth. Both sugar and sugar-free gums interfere with good bacteria, tamper with local mouth immunity and in turn cause cavities in kids and adults.

• Tooth Wear: We only get enamel once in a lifetime! Since it has no blood supply, enamel once gone cannot be regenerated from inside the tooth. Overuse of teeth causes a continuous wear of teeth, mainly enamel. Enamel is responsible for the mounds (cusps) of the teeth, which in turn are responsible for proper cutting and chewing of our food. Once those cusps wear down there is no going back. The only way to undo the vertical bite collapse is by getting new crowns/caps put on those worn down teeth.

Direct negative impact inside the mouth and body:

• Nasty Chemical ingestion: Chewing gum is made up of plastic polymer, sugar and other chemicals. We intentionally and willfully leach out those plastic chemicals slowly but surely into our body. So, in essence, we are voluntarily poisoning our own body!

• Sugar-Free dangers: The sugar free chewing gum are made with artificial sweeteners and colors. Sucralose, aspartame, xylitol and color dyes may be associated with diarrhea, bloating, weight gain and food allergies. Some have been shown to be harmful to the liver in animal studies. Further information is needed, but the Institute of Medicine and the American Academy of Pediatrics state that the use of artificial sweeteners are inadequately studied when consumed for many years starting in childhood and adolescence. Nor is there enough information to confirm their safety in pregnant and breastfeeding women.

• Dry Mouth: Chewing Gum is marketed for its ability to induce saliva. Well think about this for a second….If chewing gum goes inside the mouth completely dry, what keeps it moist? Our saliva! In reality, the saliva produced literally goes towards moisturizing the chewing gum! So if you ever wondered why you actually felt dehydrated after chewing that gum, hmmm now you know why.

• Dehydration: Continuous saliva ingestion triggers brain activity, which suppresses our thirst indicator. Therefore, instead of drinking fresh new water for good hydration, we end up recycling body water back into body via saliva.

Direct negative impact on Jaw Joint and muscles

• Jaw Joint problems: 92% of TMJ ( jaw joint) problems happen in women due to their weaker collagen type. Chewing gum aggravates it at the same level as if you were to run non-stop 24/7 and eventually wear out your knees and hips.

• Muscle Overactivity: Our teeth are supposed to touch each other only for a total of one hour in the entire 24 hours. This includes eating, swallowing or drinking. Any other teeth touching movements fall under the “Para-functional” chewing habits. These include, clenching, grinding, chewing or biting nails, chewing pencils, chewing gum or anything else. Our facial musculature or tooth structure are not designed for continuous chewing and if done can be quite degenerative over a person’s lifetime.

• More Headaches: TMJ has direct neural connection with the first vertebra in the neck or cervical spine and is responsible for balancing the skull painlessly. Chewing gums brings in more muscle fatigue, which in turn can trigger muscle spasms and tension headaches.

• Involuntary Night grinding: Muscles have a memory. If you chew all day long, then the muscles are compelled to chew even while you are sleeping and even if you don’t have gum. This translates to your becoming a teeth grinder faster than someone who is a non-gum chewer. As we, all know grinding or clenching of teeth is neither good for teeth nor the TMJ joint.

Direct Negative impact on Environment

• Non Eco-friendly: We all have experienced stepping on a chewed gum and it sticking to our shoes! Chewing gum is a definite environmental nuisance. When it is swallowed, what level of damage does it do inside our body!

As we shift towards healthier and natural nutrition habits, we need to think again before chewing gum. Choose to eat natural foods instead of chemical-infused chewing gum. Children who are more prone to chew gum purely out of peer pressure, are affected negatively in long run. If we want to shift toward good health, then the conscious choice of NOT chewing gum has to be reinforced as a family and as community.

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