The Benefits of Chewing Gum
Many people have a habit of chewing gums to keep their breath fresh or to keep hunger pangs under control when they cannot eat any food. However, have you ever wondered whether it is safe or healthy to chew on gums? We at Iqaluit Dental Clinic believe that when done in moderation, chewing gum is not only safe but can also offer many health benefits.
Now, before we look at the benefits of chewing on gums, let us first understand the list of ingredients generally used to make chewing gums. This would allow you to get a better understanding of the food product and eliminate minor doubts.
What are chewing gums made of?
Generally, the recipe for chewing gums varies between different brands and they are usually kept a secret. However, the list of basic ingredients includes the following:
1. Elastomers – This is a non-digestible, synthetic rubber-like substance that makes the gum chewable.
2. Resin – These are synthetic or plant-based ingredients that are added to strengthen the gum.
3. Softeners – These include waxes such as vegetable oils and paraffin that prevent the gums from hardening, make them soft, and help them to retain moisture.
4. Fillers – Certain filler ingredients such as talc and calcium carbonate are included to add some texture to the gum.
5. Flavourings – The signature flavours of the gum are created using natural and synthetic flavourings.
6. Sweeteners – Generally, corn syrup, beet sugar, and cane sugar are used to sweeten gums. However, sugar-free gums include artificial sweeteners such as aspartame, sugar substitute such as stevia, or sugar alcohol such as xylitol.
What are the benefits of chewing gums?
Generally, chewing gums can offer you many benefits, provided you choose the products wisely and don’t chew them excessively since it can otherwise result in migraines and jaw strain. Now, let’s look at some of the advantages of chewing gums:
1. It can enable you to improve your oral health – According to the American Dental Association (ADA), chewing on sugar-free gums for just 20 minutes after eating a meal can lower the risk of tooth decay and prevent cavities. This is because chewing gums increases the production of saliva inside your mouth which helps to clean food particles and acids on the teeth. Since saliva contains minerals such as fluoride, phosphorous, calcium, and more, the extra secretion of saliva also helps to keep the enamel strong through a process known as remineralization.
Similarly, an experiment conducted by the Journal of Oral Science proved that chewing gums that contain the sugar-free sweetener xylitol helps to combat the growth of bad bacteria in your mouth that damage your teeth.
2. It can help to reduce stress, anxiety, and depression – Many studies such as the Journal of Clinical and Translational Research show that chewing gums regularly over a period of two to three weeks can help to lower the symptoms of anxiety, stress, and depression.
A preliminary Neurotherapeutics study shows that gums that contain cannabidiol (CBD) could be an effective treatment for potential anxiety disorders and can also help with a range of conditions such as obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) to social anxiety.
3. It can prevent motion sickness and nausea – Herbal chewing gums that contain ingredients such as ginger has been proven to be an effective treatment for controlling postoperative nausea and vomiting since they aid digestion and saliva production.
Many studies have also shown that chewing gums can be as effective as prescription drugs for providing relief from motion sickness and nausea but come with fewer side effects.
4. It can boost your cognitive performance – It has been observed through magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) tests that chewing gums helps to activate the hippocampus, the part of the brain responsible for memory, reaction time, and concentration.
Other studies have shown that chewing on gums can help to keep you more alert, boost your cognitive performance, and improve memory recall. It is believed that such is possible because chewing gums increases the heart rate and blood flow to the brain.
5. It can help you to lose weight – Chewing gums is one of the best ways to improve your eating habits since it helps to control your hunger pangs. Whenever you are feeling hungry, you can simply pop sugar-free gum instead of consuming high-calorie snacks and trick your brain. The act of chewing will reduce your appetite but since they are low in calories, it can help you to lose weight.
6. It helps to prevent dry mouth and keep your breath fresh – Eating strong-smelling foods such as onions, garlic, and certain spices can leave a bad taste in your mouth and cause your breath to stink or become foul. Similarly, if your mouth doesn’t naturally produce adequate saliva, the lack of saliva can cause the growth of excess food build-up and bacteria, which can also result in a foul mouth odour.
Since chewing on gums helps to stimulate the salivary glands, it helps to prevent the build-up of bacteria and food that cause bad breath. Certain chewing gums that are advertised as mouth fresheners such as the mint-flavoured ones can also help to combat the foul odour of the breath and save you from embarrassment in public.
7. It can aid in digestion and reduce the symptoms of acid reflux – According to a study, chewing gums helps to make the saliva more alkaline and increases the swallowing reflex. It helps to wash down the digestive acid through the esophagus and helps to neutralize the symptoms of acid reflux and heartburn.
There is something incredibly satisfying about chewing gums of different flavours regardless of your age. However, many people are apprehensive about chewing gums since most manufacturers don’t mention their recipes and what goes into making chewing gum. At Iqaluit Dental Clinic, we suggest you choose sugar-free chewing gums over sugar-sweetened gums if you are worried about your dental health. Gums that are made with sugar alcohol xylitol are helpful since these prevent the growth of bad bacteria in your mouth, tooth decay, and bad breath.