Pros and Cons of Chewing Gum

Did you know the average American chews around 300 sticks of gum a year? Bubble gum, peppermint, spearmint – take your pick. Chewing gum may be part of your daily routine, but there is more to a stick of gum than you think. Chewing gum containing sugar leads to tooth decay, but sugarless gum actually freshens breath and fights cavities.

Sugarless Gum:

Freshens breath and prevents cavities.

Among the many benefits of chewing gum, the most important is chewing sugarless gum to prevent cavities and tooth decay. Gum stimulates saliva flow, washing away food particles and sugar from your teeth. Less sugar leads to fewer bacteria in your mouth, preventing cavities. Xylitol is a natural sweetener often found in sugarless gums and reduces bad bacteria that leads to plaque and neutralizes acid in your mouth, keeping tooth enamel strong.

Reduces stress and boosts memory.

Studies show chewing gum improves memory, brain function and decision making, while reducing stress and depression. The act of chewing reduces stress hormones such as cortisol and increases blood flow to the brain, improving memory.

Helps control sweet cravings.

According to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, chewing gum may help individuals lose weight. Increased saliva production from chewing gum tricks your body into thinking it’s not hungry. Because gum is both sweet and low in calories, it satisfies your cravings without consuming excess calories.


Sugar-Filled Gum:

Leads to cavities and tooth decay.

Without proper dental hygiene, the buildup of plaque and bacteria causes tooth decay. Gum is not a good idea for those with retainers, braces or dental work such as crowns or fillings as they can become loose.

Creates jaw problems.

Too much gum chewing may cause jaw problems such as temporomandibular disorders (TMD), affecting jaw muscles and joints. TMD causes painful chewing, and gum may exacerbate or create jaw pain.

Causes headaches.

Chewing gum frequently can cause headaches. People prone to migraines or tension-type headaches are more likely to experience them when chewing gum filled with sugar.

It’s helpful to know which types of gum are better for you. I recommend gum with the ADA seal of acceptance, as their products are safe and effective. If your teeth are sensitive to chewing gum or if you have noticed previous dental work loosening, schedule an appointment through the contact tab on my website.