Chewing gum has become a fairly common habit, but the effect of which we do not all know. Over time, opinions about chewing gum have changed with the improvement of ingredients and how they are made. In the past, chewing gum was a “sweet” responsible for cavities. Today it has become a valuable ally for maintaining oral hygiene, provided it contains xylitol and no dyes.
What is the chewing gum made of?
The recipes vary from one manufacturer to another, but they all have the same basic ingredients:
- Gum – indigestible: a form of rubber;
- Resin – for homogenization;
- Fillers, such as calcium carbonate or talc, for texture;
- Sweeteners – the most commonly used is sugar or corn syrup. Sugar-free gums contain xylitol-like alcohols or artificial sweeteners, such as aspartame;
- Flavors, for a pleasant taste – can be natural or synthetic.
The advantages of chewing gum
1.It increases the heart rate, and thus the blood flow to the brain
Chewing gum improves brain activity because it stimulates the production of insulin (a hormone that, in addition to its well-known main functions, also seems to activate memory-related areas of the brain), thus promoting good concentration and mental lucidity. After several tests, psychologists found that there is a link between the movement of the jaw during chewing and increased memory.
A study published in 2013 claims that chewing gum after surgery would stimulate the entire digestive system. To do this, the gum must be chewed quickly to resume intestinal transit. By stimulating salivary secretion and, indirectly, the contractile waves of the stomach that help advance the food bolus, chewing gum could facilitate digestion. However, chewing gum on an empty stomach is not healthy. Only after meals, because it promotes digestion and increases the production of gastric acids. According to experts, it is good to chew gum no more than three times a day, maximum 45 minutes.
3.Maintains oral hygiene
Chewing gum (the one that contains KSL protein), if consumed in moderation, improves oral hygiene by fighting infections and bad breath. Not only does it help eliminate food residues from the teeth, but the chewing mechanism stimulates salivary flow that decreases with age, but also due to treatments. Saliva has the power to dissolve sugars present in food and beverages and to fight acidity caused by bacteria. Because saliva contains bicarbonate, it tends to stabilize the pH of the mouth, which becomes acidic due to certain foods.
Chewing sugar-free gum for ten minutes, according to Dutch studies, could trap about 100 million bacteria and is particularly effective, especially in the first 30 seconds of chewing. Sugar-free chewing gum protects tooth enamel, while sugar gum can lead to the development of cavities.
4.Fights anxiety and stress
Chewed for 15 minutes, the gum reduces stress and anxiety. Research was conducted on students during the exams: it was found that students who chewed gum were more relaxed and focused than others.
5.Helps to lose weight
Some researchers have shown that regular consumption of chewing gum can help you lose weight, because it reduces the level of cortisol (stress hormone) and also the feeling of hunger and the need to eat on a nervous background. Chewing gum can alleviate the feeling of hunger or simply appetite, the sudden desire to snack or high-fat foods that threaten the figure.
The disadvantages of chewing gum
1.May cause temporomandibular joint disorder
Chewing gum can cause muscle imbalance in the jaw (if you chew on one side more than the other) and even an temporomandibular joint disorder, which can become a chronic painful condition. When a muscle group is overloaded, the muscles may be determined to contract, and in the long run, you will feel pain such as headaches and toothaches.
2.Headaches in teenagers
It is known that teenagers are big fans of chewing gum. If a teenager chews gum regularly and suffers from headaches, there may already be a connection between the two.
A study was conducted on thirty people between the ages of six and nineteen who often chewed gum and suffered from chronic migraines or tension-induced headaches. After a one-month break in which they did not chew gum, nineteen people noticed the total disappearance of the headache, while seven other adolescents experienced a reduction in the frequency and intensity of pain. Twenty-six of the teens then resumed chewing gum, noting a return of migraines in a few days.
3.Consumption of junk food may increase
Contrary to research showing that chewing gum reduces not only the need to eat, but also hunger and the amount of food, it has been shown that people who chew gum eat less nutritious foods than those who do not.
Chewing gum increases alertness, which is a good thing during the day, but not at night.
5.It is not biodegradable
80-90% of the chewing gum on the market is made of plastic and is not biodegradable, which can present major problems for the environment. In fact, chewing gum is so artificial that insects will not eat it, but fish and birds can eat it and risk suffocation.