Did you know that chewing gum can not only benefit your teeth but also your overall health? Keep reading to learn about the nine surprising benefits of chewing gum.
9. It Keeps You Regular
Chewing gum can actually stimulate bowel movements. Yep, it’s true. It does so by increasing the production of gastric juices — all without having to digest any food! In fact, colorectal surgeons often prescribe chewing gum to help patients stimulate their digestive system after having major bowel surgery. So, the next time you’re feeling a bit constipated, reach for some gum instead of a laxative. It’s cheaper and safer than laxatives, plus you don’t have to worry about certain side effects, like the possibility of becoming dependent upon it for bowel movements.
8. It Combats Nausea
We all know that mint soothes an upset stomach, so it makes sense that mint gum has the same effect on our tummies — be it nausea caused by motion sickness or morning sickness. But, you don’t have to stop at mint gum. Herbal gums, those containing ginger, for example, also combat nausea. In fact, research has shown that chewing gum is more effective at combating nausea than leading drugs. In one study, women who felt sick after surgery were given one of two things while recovering: a stick of Wrigley’s peppermint gum or the anti-nausea drug ondansetron. The results of the study showed that the gum was effective for 75 percent of the patients and fully resolved their problems within 10 minutes. The anti-nausea drug, on the other hand, was only effective for 37 percent of the patients.
7. It Gets Rid Of “Earworms”
For those of you who may not have heard of an earworm, it’s when a song gets stuck in your head and you can’t stop singing it or thinking about it all day long. We’ve all been there at one time or another. But, most of us probably didn’t know that we could get rid of it by popping a stick of gum in our mouths. According to LittleThings.com, studies show that the part of the brain responsible for creating that earworm in the first place becomes distracted by the repetitive nature of chewing gum.
6. It Improves Memory
According to SelectHealth, Utah’s top-ranked health insurance plan, professor Andrew Sholey discovered that short-term memory could be improved by 35 percent by chewing a stick of gum. In fact, multiple studies have shown that chewing gum boosts mental performance. The reason is that chewing increases blood flow to the brain by as much as 25 to 40 percent. This increase in blood flow to the brain increases oxygen to the brain. And, this helps boost memory and other cognitive functions.
Note: Don’t get carried away with the chewing gum, though. Chewing on it for too long can actually decrease your short-term memory!
5. It Curbs Certain Addictions
Chewing gum can distract you from certain addictions, like cigarette cravings. In fact, there are certain gums that are made to help people quit smoking. These gums deliver a controlled amount of nicotine to a smoker’s system as a way to wean them off of cigarettes.
Another bad habit that chewing gum can break is overeating. According to LittleThings.com, gum helps to curve food cravings. “As long as you have something to chew on and concentrate on, you can resist the urge to relent,” LittleThings.com wrote on its website.
4. It Relieves Ear Pain During Flights
Ear pain on airplanes occurs due to changes in air pressure during takeoff and landing. And, if you’ve ever been on a plane, you know that ear-popping feeling can be very bothersome. Perhaps you’ve tried to remedy the situation by yawning or pinching your nose. But, there’s a simpler solution: popping a stick of gum into your mouth. The extra saliva produced when you chew gum allows you to swallow more, which can help to equalize the pressure in your ears.
3. It Decreases Depression
According to a 2011 study, chewing gum twice a day for two weeks reduces depression, anxiety, and other mental illnesses. At the end of the 14-day period, study participants reported higher moods and lower fatigue levels. How is this possible? Here’s how: gum chewing significantly reduces the stress hormone cortisol because the act of chewing gum has a calming effect on most people.
DID YOU KNOW?
-Chewing gum is also a great way to deal with nervous habits that develop when you’re stressed, like nail biting and leg shaking.
-Monotonous chewing has somewhat of a meditative effect. “It’s sort of like an offshoot of deep breathing,” LittleThings.com wrote on its website.
2. It Keeps You Alert And Awake
Several studies have shown that chewing gum can increase alertness. That’s because the chewing movement not only increases blood flow, but it also stimulates nerves and parts of the brain associated with arousal. This makes you feel more alert, awake, and focused. So, the next time you have to pull an all-nighter, work late, or drive long distances, pop in a stick of gum. But, not just any gum. According to financial advice website Wise Bread, mint-flavored gum is especially helpful when trying to stay alert and awake.
1. It Prevents Tooth Decay
Did you know that dentists recommend that their patients chew gum? Yep, it’s true. That’s because chewing gum stimulates your glands to produce more saliva. In fact, it stimulates saliva up to 10 times the resting rate. And, while saliva helps keep your mouth moist and comfortable, it also helps wash away food debris and remove bacteria that can cause tooth decay. But, it’s not just the chewing action that prevents tooth decay. Calcium, fluoride, and other nutrients that help strengthen tooth enamel are found in saliva. And, when you chew gum for 20 minutes after eating, it increases your salivary flow, which helps to prevent tooth decay. Just make sure you’re chomping on sugar-free gum, otherwise, it just defeats the purpose.
-Now, just because we said that chewing gum helps prevent tooth decay doesn’t mean it’s a substitute for brushing with toothpaste. In fact, we need toothpaste to fight cavities, plaque, tartar, gingivitis, and bad breath. Chewing gum, then, is something we can do in addition to brushing, flossing, and visiting the dentist regularly.
-Look for gums containing xylitol, a low-calorie sugar substitute that supplies minerals to your teeth.
Who knew that chewing gum could be so good for you! Thanks for reading, and feel free to leave a comment below.