Hi. My name is Sonja, and I am a Gum addict….
Among MANY other things, gum is definitely one of my vices. I will blow through a pack in literally under an hour. Pop in a piece, chew for five minutes, spit out, pop in another – over and over and over again. Fast forward to the end of the day and often times my stomach hurts so much I can hardly stand and it looks like I am about 4 months pregnant. While I do have stomach issues (beyond just gum) – it did take me a while to correlate the two, but with a bit of research I found that gum bloat was very common. Unfortunately along with my research I also encountered a surprising number of other not so great facts about it:
1. Gastrointestinal Problems
Me to a tee! Why you ask? Well when you chew gum you also swallow a lot of excess air. This contributes to bloating and pain. Also when your mouth chews (which is a lot when you have gum) it sends signals to body suggesting food is coming. Stomach acids and enzymes are then released – however – as you are chewing gum no food actually comes. Add that to further problems from the artificial sweeteners, such as diarrhea, and you have a whole pile of crap to deal with… literally and figuratively.
2. Will make you eat more junk
Many fitness competitors, people trying to lose weight, etc. eat gum to assist when they have food cravings. Research has shown, however, that while these people chew gum, they also ultimately have more junk cravings, versus healthy choices of non chewers, when they do eat.
3. Tooth Decay and Erosion
Whether your gum is filled with sugar, or is sugar free (acidic flavorings and preservatives), it can cause tooth decay and erosion. Fresh breath won’t matter if you are embarrassed to smile!
4. May Trigger TMJ
Temporomandibular Joint Disorder, from experience, is not fun. It is a chronic pain disorder where your jaw contracts and often “sticks” (as is the case for me) and causes pain in your teeth, head and ear. It has been shown that chewing gum may cause this, especially as often you chew gum on one prominent side which throws your jaw balance off center.
5. Can Release Mercury from your Fillings
And the side effects of that are a whole different ball game - immunological, neurological, and even psychological problems.
6. Made of wool
Gum often contains lanolin – a substance made from sheep wool – to help it stay soft…Yum!
Needless to say, hopefully the above will make you re-think your gum chewing habits. Whether for bad breath, overcoming cravings, or just for the taste… know there are always alternatives. Brush your teeth after every meal (mini toothbrush and paste) for breath, drink more water for cravings, or flavor your water with real fruit for taste. It’s that easy – and that much healthier!
Feautred image source: http://res.mindbodygreen.com/img/ftr/ChewingGum660.jpg
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