Chewing gum – is it good for you or bad for you? This is the stuff of which epic debates are made, and when it comes to chewing gum in all its many varieties, the debate just continues to rage. There are also many angles to consider when weighing in on the debate. For instance, when looking at straight oral health, the individual’s dental health history can factor in heavily. But when looking at other benefits, such as a purported ability to concentrate more effectively, the benefits and detriments of chewing gum are not so clear.
Chewing Gum: The Cons
Perhaps it is easiest to start with the cons, since that is what causes most debates to begin. Here is a list of the most commonly cited cons.
- Sweeteners. The sweeteners used in chewing gum can have a range of side effects, from cavities (sugar) to increased appetite or increased risk of cancer (artificial sweeteners).
- Jaw pain. TMJ, or “temporomandibular joint disorder,” can be aggravated by chewing gum even for short periods of time.
- Gas. Chewing gum can cause an increase in gas production in the digestive system.
Chewing Gum: The Pros
Those who view chewing gum as a positive experience have equally compelling arguments. Here are a selection of the most well known arguments in favor of gum chewing.
- Saliva. Chewing gum increases saliva production, which can wash away mouth bacteria and improve dental health.
- Appetite control. Chewing gum can be a replacement for mindless snacking or smoking.
- Improved balance and concentration. Chewing gum can stabilize both the inner ear and mental concentration processes.
To Chew or Not to Chew?
This is an entirely personal question. It can be smart to consult a dentist and find out if you may be susceptible to TMJ or may have any oral health issues that make chewing sugared gum especially unwise. Ultimately, if you find that chewing gum is a positive benefit as you go about your day, then by all means, chew away!
Is it time to see a dentist? Contact Tucson dentist Robert C. Brei, DDS today for an appointment.