People love to chew gum for a variety of different reasons

It can give us a little taste of sweet, with minimal calories. We can use it to de-stress and chew out the anger. It can be used to drive away the boredom.

We use it when we want to postpone eating. Sometimes we chew gum simply because it is offered to us, and it seems like everyone else is chewing.

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However, chewing gum has a number of bad effects which must be put into consideration:

1. Chewing gum can cause you to make unhealthy food choices!

If you’re chewing gum with the belief that it will reduce your cravings or get your mind off the “cookie jar” between meals, think again.

Chewing gum does not reduce hunger and may even lead to a binge.

Research has shown that chewing gum before eating reduced intake of nutrient dense foods and increased intake of junk food.

Perhaps the sweet taste of the gum makes healthy foods less appealing.

2. Tooth problems

– Sugared gums can cause tooth decay, gum disease and cavities. There is no secrecy in that!

 Sugar-free gum contains acidic flavorings and preservatives that may lead to dental erosion even if it contains cavity-fighting xylitol.

– Tooth deformities may occur due to excessive chewing, the upper molars tend to spread, while the lower ones diminish and this may require orthodontic care to correct.

– Wearing of the tooth enamel off your teeth and change of your bite may occur. As the enamel erodes, your teeth may become more sensitive to hot, cold and acidic foods.

– Release of  toxic mercury from your dental fillings, to be swallowed into your body, may lead to:

3. Kidney and brain problems

This dangerous mercury targets your urinary tract, nerves and brain.

4. Stomach aches

– When Chewing gum you swallow air which can cause abdominal pain, cramping and bloating. This can be really severe in patients with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

– Continuous secretion of saliva and digestive juices leads to increased stress on your stomach and intestines, which aren’t given a chance to rest. This may reduce the ability of your stomach to produce acids when it actually needs to. This in turn,  may lead to irritation,  stomach aches, gastritis and even gastric ulcer!

5. Jaw problems

– Vigorous chewing causes continuous stress on your jaws and can lead to contracted muscles with related pain, including headaches, earaches, and toothaches over time.

– Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TJD): This is a painful chronic condition suspected if you often have pain in your jaw and neck, or reduced movement or locking of the jaw.

– Excessive chewing in children may lead to stimulation of jawbone and facial muscles’ growth and creation of  a larger face.

6. Chewing gum can induce headaches and migraines

chewing gum_2This is particularly common in teenagers. Facial muscle fatigue from prolonged chewing, especially if  chewing occurs on only one side of the mouth, causes the headaches.

Exposure to ingredients in gum like aspartame may also be involved. 

7. Most chewing gum contains artificial sweeteners

– Even non-sugar-free gums usually contain some sort of artificial sweetener.

Allergies to artificial sweeteners especially aspartame and sorbitol, can cause irritation, headaches or diarrhea.

– Most sugar-free gums contain aspartame or sucralose (splenda),

These may be carcinogenic and can presumably cause fibromyalgia, headaches, dizziness and mood swings, birth defects and weight gain.

– A piece of advice here would be to prefer gum brands that use xylitol instead, as this seems to be a safer alternative (though it may not prevent dental caries).

8. Other toxic ingredients

It’s true that you don’t swallow chewing gum, but the ingredients are directly absorbed through the walls of your mouth to your body quickly, bypassing the digestive system that would ordinarily help to filter some of the toxins away.

These toxins may include:

Gum base ,maltitol ,mannitol ,artificial and ‘natural’ flavoring, Acacia, , BHT, calcium casein peptone, calcium phosphate, candelilla wax ,sodium stearate,  and titanium dioxide. 

9. Chewing gum masks bad breath

Bad breath is a symptom of digestive problems, respiratory problems, or excessive tooth decay, which must be treated not masked!

10. Social distraction

Chewing gum in some social environments, for example: public areas, schools, workplace, etc, is distracting and may be unacceptable. Ever been served in a shop by someone chewing gum? Not a great look!

As you can see, the bad effects of chewing gum greatly outweigh any possible benefits you think you may be getting. Is a stick of gum really worth it?

Kicking the gum habit can be the first step to kicking all your bad habits! So, spit it out now and start on a path where all your choices are for the good of your health!

Connect with Expert Hala Youssef

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