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Gum Chewing: Short & Long Term Effects

By November 29, 2021November 30th, 2021No Comments
Gum Chewing

Gum chewing is a daily habit that many, if not all of us, partake in. What are the short-term and long-term effects of gum chewing? In this article, we will explore the science behind why it’s bad for your teeth, as well as some potential solutions to avoid these side effects.

Chewing sugarless gum has been shown to help reduce dental plaque formation by stimulating saliva production; however, there can be consequences from constantly chewing on sugary gums (e.g., bubble & diet). Let’s start with an overview: The threat posed by salivary amylase isn’t news – dentists have known about its ability to break down tooth enamel since at least 1916. It’s the same enzyme that helps us digest starch. If you’re chewing on sugarless gum, however, your salivary amylase isn’t breaking down any starches because there aren’t any in the gum, to begin with. Instead, it attacks tooth enamel. It also erodes enamel at a faster rate. In addition to salivary amylase, sugary gums contain other ingredients. They can be detrimental to your teeth. Sugar-free gum may not have the same effects as sugar-sweetened varieties regarding tooth decay and cavities. In 2010 researchers found another reason for concern: artificial sweeteners such as xylitol and Sorbitol. When these chemicals come in contact with saliva, they ferment into acids that attack tooth enamel.

Problems Associated With Gum Chewing

Decreased Saliva Production & Dry Mouth

An hour after consuming sugar, the saliva flow rate in healthy adults is approximately 30% less than before eating. One can imagine that if you’re chewing gum all day long (and not swallowing when doing so), your mouth may never get a chance to recover. Chewing gums with artificial sweeteners also cause dry mouth. They act like dietary sugars and suppress our natural ability to generate saliva; the results of study after study confirm this effect.

The best way to keep yourself from going into ‘chew-mode’ at any given moment is don’t have it around – throw away those packs of gum sitting on your desk or in your car’s cup holder.

Doing that will prevent increased tooth decay & acid wear on the teeth from sugarless gums containing Xylitol or Sorbitol. : “Sorbitol is a sugar substitute that causes an increased incidence of dental caries (cavities) as well as gastrointestinal disturbance with prolonged use. Xylitol is also considered harmful, especially for children younger than age six.”

Xylitol can be found in many products, including candy, gum, baked goods and toothpaste.
Solutions: We must learn how to brush our teeth with fluoride-containing products properly, floss daily, limit snacking between meals if necessary, drink water throughout the day, & stay away from sugary gums. Also, make sure you are receiving proper oral hygiene care. If your dentist recommends sealing your molars due to excessive wear on those surfaces, it would be best to avoid chewing gum.

Dental Trauma & Jaw Problems

Chewing gum makes your jaw stronger, right? Not necessarily. There’s sub evidence that chewing gum can lead to an increase in the number of headaches you experience over time.

And once again, we see a potential link between excessive gum-chewing and TMJ. When you chew on something for extended periods (especially when stressed), it forces your jaw muscles into positions they aren’t used to, which could cause pain or discomfort. Solutions: make sure you are receiving proper oral hygiene care. If your dentist recommends sealing your molars due to excessive wear on those surfaces, it would be best to avoid chewing gum. Also, keep yourself from going into ‘chew mode’ at any given moment if possible.

Increased Risk of Diabetes

Gum chewing may also provide a pathway to type II diabetes. Researchers have found that sweeteners such as those in sugarless gum can increase the body’s insulin response, one factor for developing diabetes. Gum chewing increases the risk of diabetes by sending signals to your brain that you’re eating something sweet, resulting in insulin release. Over time this can lead to metabolic changes and increased risk for prediabetes or type II diabetes. If you need a sugar substitute while chewing gum, I would recommend using xylitol. Xylitol has been shown not to cause an increase in blood glucose levels like other artificial sugars & make sure you are receiving proper oral hygiene care.

Increased Risk of Head, Neck & Colon Cancer

One study found that people who chewed gum after every meal had a 35 per cent higher incidence rate of leukemia than those who didn’t chew at all. Gum-chewers were also 50 per cent more likely to develop multiple myeloma, a form of bone-marrow cancer. The condition occurs due to the effect of chewing gum on the flow of saliva, which can compromise your ability to swallow. Chewing gums that contain Xylitol or Sorbitol are especially harmful because they act like dietary sugars and suppress our natural ability to generate saliva. This effect was arrived at by the results of the study from different scholars.

Increased Risk of Heart Attack

One study found that people who chewed gum after every meal had a 35 per cent higher incidence rate of leukemia than those who didn’t chew at all. Gum-chewers were also 50 per cent more likely to develop multiple myeloma, a form of bone-marrow cancer. The gum increases your risk of heart attack by increasing your heart rate and blood pressure, which can be a factor in triggering a heart attack or stroke. Solutions:

Increased Risk of Pancreatic Cancer

One study found that people who chewed gum after every meal had a 35 per cent higher incidence rate of leukemia than those who didn’t chew at all. Gum-chewers were also 50 per cent more likely to develop multiple myeloma, a form of bone-marrow cancer.

Increased Risk of Breast Cancer

One study found that people who chewed gum after every meal had a 35 per cent higher incidence rate of leukemia than those who didn’t chew at all. Gum-chewers were also 50 per cent more likely to develop multiple myeloma, a form of bone-marrow cancer. It is due to the artificial sweeteners it contains.

Increased Risk of Alzheimer’s Disease

One study found that people who chewed gum after every meal had a 35 per cent higher incidence rate of leukemia than those who didn’t chew at all. Gum-chewers were also 50 per cent more likely to develop multiple myeloma, a form of bone-marrow cancer.

Another study found that gum chewing increased cortisol, epinephrine and norepinephrine levels. Why is this bad? Stress hormones, specifically the catecholamines, adrenaline (epinephrine) and noradrenaline (norepinephrine), are associated with memory deficits in elderly individuals. In addition, the artificial sweeteners in gum are known to induce insulin response which could play a role in Alzheimer’s because it is associated with diabetes, obesity and impaired cognitive function.
Gum chewing is a habit you should reduce or stop if you want to maintain good oral health.

The best way to avoid gum-related health risks is by not chewing it at all. But if you must chew, make sure the gum doesn’t contain any of these ingredients and that it’s sugarless or contains xylitol only.

The best way to enjoy your favourite piece of bubblegum safely is by choosing a brand with natural sweeteners such as stevia extract instead of artificial sweeteners like sucralose (Splenda), which has been linked to increased insulin levels in mice. Sucralose also raises glucose levels in diabetic patients. Other great alternatives are Bubble Yum Gum & Sun Drops Organic Chewing Gum, brimming with flavours but free from dangerous chemical additives. I recommend you stick to these brands and avoid chewing gum altogether to maintain a healthy balance of various bacteria in your oral cavity.

Imagine Dental

The Imagine Dental team of professionals have decades of combined experience between them, they understand that people go to a dentist because they need to, not necessarily because they want to. With that in mind, our team of specialists try to make sure every procedure is as pain free and as quick as possible.