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The Truth About Chewing Gum

Oct 14, 2019
People chew gum for many reasons such as trying to quit smoking, to clean their teeth following a meal when they’re not at home, to try to lose weight, and to freshen their breath.

People chew gum for many reasons such as trying to quit smoking, to clean their teeth following a meal when they’re not at home, to try to lose weight, and to freshen their breath.

Some people chew gum for something to do while others chew it to avoid eating candy or snacks. Your dentist in Scottsdale will be happy to tell you the advantages and disadvantages of eating candies.

What Is Chewing Gum?

The original chewy treat was garnered from the sap of certain trees. Today’s gum is made of synthetic rubber with fillers to keep it from crumbling, flavoring, and added sugar for taste.

It’s a treat meant to be chewed and not swallowed. Swallowing gum can cause blockages in the intestines.

So then, What are the good points of chewing gum?

The Good

Your family dentist will recommend certain types of gum that won’t hurt your teeth. These gums generally contain xylitol, a sugar liquor that slows the growth or prevents the growth of bacteria binding to the tooth enamel and causing cavities.

Another type of gum your dentist might recommend uses calcium lactate. This is added to gums containing xylitol. When it is added, the two together pack a punch, helping “good” minerals in the tooth enamel.

Studies have shown that chewing on gum while working boosts memory, improves the decision-making process, and general alertness. Some studies actually found that chewing on gum decreased stress!

The jury is still out on whether gum helps people lose weight. Some studies found that chewers didn’t snack as much or at all while other studies found no change between chewing and not chewing. An interesting highlight is that one study saw test subjects lose 19 percent more calories when chewing than when not.

Chewing gum following a meal increases saliva production. Saliva washes away the bad bacteria and food particles before it they can attach to tooth enamel and wreak havoc.

Additional health benefits of gum include helping speed up the recovery following a surgery, preventing middle ear infections in small children, and helping people quit smoking with nicotine gum.

The Bad

Cosmetic dentistry is required when crowns, fillings, and bridges are loose or broken which sometimes happens when using gum.

There are times when a the dentist will be sought for pain in the jaw or Thermomandibular disorder. The joint in the jaw is involved when chewing and can become quite painful.

Gums with sugar instead of alternative sweeteners react with the bad bacteria in the mouth which causes cavities and other damage to tooth enamel. Sugar intake has also been linked with obesity, diabetes, and insulin resistance.

One study found that chewing on gum causes tension and migraine headaches in those susceptible to them. More research is needed to find if gum actually causes these headaches but chewing certainly exacerbates them. Gum users might want to limit their chewing to days when no headache is on the horizon.

The Ugly

It’s called E171 or titanium dioxide. It’s produced in nanoparticles and added to paint, plastics, and our food. Its purpose is to make toothpaste, mayonnaise, white powdered sugar, Twinkies, candy, bread, milk, and even chocolate smoother and/or whiter.

The snag to it is how these nano-sized metal particles interact with the gut. The intestines filter out the nutrients needed for the body to sustain life and send them to the parts needing each nutrient.

E171 in meals was tested on intestinal cells with the following findings:

  • Intestines were weaker
  • Metabolism slowed down
  • Inflammation was triggered
  • The gut’s defense against pathogens was weakened

Guess what? Titanium dioxide is used in some brands of gum to make them whiter. E171 has been found to either cause or exacerbate irritable bowel syndrome and colorectal cancer. Moreover, the emulsifiers in gum used to keep the flavor going longer and to keep it from sticking to the teeth also disrupt the good flora in the intestines.

Are There Any Healthy Alternatives To Gum?

There are. Staying away from processed foods including gum is essential to the body’s nutrient management. The additives and preservatives are slowly rendering the body incapable of absorbing nutrients necessary to life. However, there are some natural remedies for the problem such as:

  • Chewing parsley will freshen the breath
  • Drink lemon water some of whose benefits are glowing skin, lost weight, excellent digestion, and it’s jammed with Vitamin C.
  • Stock up on peppermint essential oil some of whose benefits include boosted energy levels, respiratory health, less achy muscles, improve digestive and IBS symptoms among others.
  • Learn about oil pulling using coconut oil which consists of swishing around the mouth for ten to fifteen minutes one tablespoon of coconut oil. This pulls every speck of bad bacteria and food particles from the mouth, whitens teeth, and detoxing the mouth. It doesn’t cost much, either.