Chewing Gum: Good for Your Brain or Terrible for Your Teeth?

The world can be split into two groups: those in favor of chewing gum and those who oppose it. Some see it as a vile, nasty habit while others deem it hugely beneficial for oral and dental health. But, when it comes down to it, is chewing gum actually good for us? Let’s sift through the facts.

Bubble Gum - Backgrounds

THE GOOD

Oral health. Most prominently, gum has been lauded for supporting good oral health. The xylitol added to chewing gums is actually highly antibacterial, meaning it may help to reduce bad breath and cavities. Hundreds of studies have confirmed that gum supports good oral health and reduces bacterial buildup in the mouth. It may also slightly reduce plaque levels on the teeth. Of course, this only applies to sugar-free gums.

Brain boost. Studies have shown that chewing gum can not only improve stress levels, but can also  improve memory. A study on students preparing to take the ACT showed that chewing gum significantly reduced stress levels while studying. Additionally, gum can provide a pick-me-up similar to coffee to increase productivity and alertness. Chewing increases blood flow to the brain, which may explain why gum chewing leads to an increase in alertness and memory.

Weight loss. There have been studies showing that chewing gum may help you lose weight, but take this information with a grain of salt. While some studies have shown that chewing gum in the morning encourages people to consume less calories throughout the day, others have confirmed the opposite. Chewing gum may encourage reduced consumption of healthy foods and increased consumption of calorie-dense meals.

THE BAD

The controversial ingredients. Chewing gum is generally considered safe, but some brands contain questionable additives. In fact, there are plenty of ingredients in chewing gums that have a less than spotless reputation. Let’s start with BHT. Butylated Hydroxytoluene (BHT) is used as a preservative. However, there is conflicting data as to whether consuming large amounts of BHT can increase cancer risk (in animal studies) or actually reduce it.

And let’s not forget aspartame. As many of you know, aspartame is a controversial artificial sweetener. It may be responsible for a range of maladies, from headaches to obesity to cancer. However, scientific evidence is weak or conflicting.

Last, but not least, there are sugar alcohols. With a laxative effect in large amounts, sugar alcohols can actually cause some people an amount of digestive distress. This is because they are not fermentable and resist digestion. Sugar alcohols are also FODMAPs, which means they irritate the guts of those with Irritable Bowel Syndrome. However, some people tolerate them just fine.

Chewing gum isn’t for everyone. If you do chew, one thing to remember above all: Opt for sugar-free gum. Sugar is not good for your teeth, it is not good for your brain, it is not good for your body. Choose gums sweetened with xylitol or stevia if you are a chewing gum fan, as these can support oral hygiene. If you avoid xylitol or stevia, maybe chewing gum isn’t for you.

What is your experience with chewing gum? Share your thoughts with the community below.

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54 comments

Graham P
Graham P6 months ago

Helped me to quit smoking then became addicted to chewing gum not bubble gum. Thanks for the post.

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Jerome S
Jerome S6 months ago

thanks

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Jim Ven
Jim Ven6 months ago

thanks for sharing.

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Telica R
Telica R6 months ago

thanks for sharing.

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Margie FOURIE
Margie FOURIE7 months ago

Dont chew bubble gum, its nasty.

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Anne G
Anne G7 months ago

I've always hated chewing gum.

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Brie B
Brie B7 months ago

I just like to chew gum

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Winn Adams
Winn A7 months ago

Noted

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Jonathan Harper
Jonathan H7 months ago

NOTED!!!!!

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Rob Chloe Sam N
Rob Chloe Sam N7 months ago

Interesting, Thanks for sharing this.

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