10 Problems with Chewing Gum 24×7

Though many studies have indicated that the saliva production and buffering action created by gum chewing can have a positive effect on oral health, it can also cause problems if done excessively. Like any habit, moderation should be exercised to avoid these common gum-related complications.

  1. Temporomandibular Joint Problems – In a recent survey, 65% of oral surgeons stated that excessive use of chewing gum could easily lead to TMJ concerns, muscle fatigue and jaw pain.
  2. Some Sweeteners Can Aggravate IBS – Sufferers of Irritable Bowel Syndrome should avoid prolonged or regular exposure to chewing gum containing the artificial sweetener Sorbitol, as it has been linked to intestinal problems and IBS flare-ups.
  3. Damage to Dental Appliances – Fillings, crowns and orthodontia can all be damaged by the constant chewing of gum, especially if it’s not of the specially-formulated variety. There are brands on the market aimed at avoiding sticking and damaging of dental appliances, but even they should not be used constantly.
  4. Gas – People who struggle with intestinal gas should avoid excessive gum chewing, as the swallowing of saliva can also lead to the ingestion of air.
  5. Increased Mercury Levels – One Swedish study indicated that subjects who chewed gum for five hours or more per day showed elevated levels of mercury in their blood and urine as a result of gum chewing, due to the release of mercury from amalgam fillings.
  6. Chronic Headaches – Of the eight muscles used for chewing, the two that are located near your temples are the most susceptible to strain from excessive gum use. Muscle strain paired with pressure placed on the surrounding nerves can be the root cause of chronic, intermittent headaches.
  7. Aspartame Exposure – One of the more popular artificial sweeteners used in the manufacture of chewing gum is aspartame, which has been linked to diabetes, cancer, various neurological disorders and birth defects.
  8. Refined Sugars – Opting to avoid the potential health risks of Sorbitol and aspartame by chewing gum sweetened with sugar can increase the risk of diabetes and atherosclerosis.
  9. Cinnamon Flavoring and Mouth Sores – Studies have shown that excessive exposure to cinnamon and artificial cinnamon flavorings can both cause mouth irritation and aggravate existing mouth sores.
  10. Increases Bad Breath – Though most people pop a stick of gum after a meal to combat halitosis, studies have shown that gum chewing can actually spike levels of volatile sulfur compounds. VSCs are the culprit behind almost all bad breath problems, so chewing gum to stave off halitosis might be counterproductive.

The cavity fighting benefits of chewing gum are negated if the gum isn’t used for at least five minutes, which allows sufficient time for saliva to break down sugars and sweeteners released and wash them away from the surfaces of teeth. When choosing a gum to promote oral health, look for varieties that use Xylitol as a sweetener and use it in moderation to avoid health risks.

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