The surprising benefits of chewing gum

June 17, 2021 5 min read

Benefits of gum

Photo by JOSHUA COLEMAN on Unsplash

You might think gum chewing is an activity with little or no benefits besides the pleasure and flavor, but think again. Chewing gum has several benefits.

In addition to freshening your breath, sugar-free gum can help prevent cavities and contribute to overall oral health. But that's just the beginning.

Some benefits of chewing gum

1. Boosts cognitive function and memory

A group of psychology researchers from St. Lawrence University did a series of experiments investigating whether gum chewing had any positive effect on cognitive function [1].

The researchers administered a battery of cognitive tests to study subjects who chewed gum during or prior to the tests. They then compared the results to a group that had not chewed gum. The study found:

Chewing gum was associated with performance advantages on multiple measures when gum was chewed for 5 min before, but not during, cognitive testing. The benefits, however, persisted only for the first 15-20 min of the testing session, and did not extend to all cognitive domains.

They think the chewing action, called mastication, increased heart rate, and blood and oxygen flow to the brain went up by 25 to 40 percent. Brain activity in the hippocampus increased significantly. The hippocampus is important for reaction times and concentration.

2. Improves mood, anxiety levels

Read the conclusion of a study into whether gum improves the quality of life:

In conclusion, the results of the present study show that 14 days gum chewing improves the levels of anxiety, mood, and fatigue in healthy young adults. [2]

Keep in mind the number of participants in the study was small. But other studies have found a similar reduction in anxiety and stress.

The study, published in Clinical Practice & Epidemiology in Mental Health, found:

In this study, gum chewing was found to be associated with decreased levels of self-rated anxiety and stress and a reduction in salivary cortisol concentrations.

Cortisol is a chemical the body produces when undergoing stress. If chewing gum reduces cortisol, it may be a sign that the person is less stressed.

If your body habitually releases too much cortisol, Mayo Clinic says it can lead to anxiety, depression, headaches, heart disease, digestive problems, weight gain, sleep problems, and impairment of concentration and memory [3].

3. Weight loss

While the results may not be spectacular as far as weight loss, any little bit can help.

Chewing gum to lose weight may be a viable method for some people to lose some weight, scientific studies have shown. It works in part by controlling appetite and burning a few calories.

Viter Energy explored chewing gum and weight loss in this blog posting [4].

A study in Physiological Behaviorexamined several other studies to determine whether chewing gum results in the release of hormones in the gut that make a person feel fuller [5]. That study did not draw firm conclusions, but rather stated:

Evidence currently suggests that chewing may decrease self-reported hunger and food intake, possibly through alterations in gut hormone responses related to satiety. Although preliminary, the results identify a need for additional research in the area. Focused, uniform, experimental designs are required to clearly understand the relationships that exist between mastication [chewing], appetite, satiety, food intake and, ultimately, body weight.

Not all studies showed the same findings, so chewing gum may work as a weight-loss method for some people but not others. Also, it might reduce people's desire to eat fruit, thereby reducing the quality of their diet.

This video explores the benefits of chewing gum.

4. Fights nausea

The website TheHealthy.com reports that chewing gum can help fight nausea [6]. The article states:

Recent research even suggests that chewing a piece of gum could be more effective than leading drugs for nausea. In the study, women who felt sick after surgery received either a stick of Wrigley’s peppermint gum or the anti-nausea drug ondansetron while recovering. Surprisingly, the gum was more effective–75 percent with gum said it fully resolved their problem within 10 minutes while only 37 percent of the drug group ever experienced relief.

Also, colorectal surgeons often prescribe chewing gum to patients after major bowel surgery to stimulate their digestion.

Among the advantages of gum are its lack of side effects and its lost cost.

5. Relieves constipation

Chewing gum can help you move your bowels by producing more gastric juices than you normally do. It's worth a try to see if gum works as well as constipation medications.

6. Helps reduce acid reflux

When stomach acid gets trapped in the tube between your throat and stomach (esophagus), the burning and sour stomach of acid reflux results. A study in the Journal of Dental Research concluded that chewing gum causes saliva to become less acidic and more alkaline. You also swallow more frequently. These two effects neutralize the acid, reduce the inflammation, and soothe the esophagus. [7]

7. Increases alertness

The simple act of masticating, chewing and moving the jaw, can increase alertness, studies say. If you work a desk job, and find yourself nodding off, pop some gum.

Double up on the effect by chewing Viter Energy Caffeine Gum with B vitamins [8].

Viter Energy has just come out with mint and cinnamon sugar-free gum with caffeine. Because it is sugar-free, you don't have those added calories

People who chew caffeinated gum are cautioned to watch their other caffeine intake. In other words, don't chew 4 sticks of gum and have 4 cups of coffee, or you may exceed the daily recommended limit of 400 mg of caffeine.

Viter Energy Gum is powerfully flavored sugar-free chewing gum that contains caffeine, guarana and B Vitamins. For several years, Viter Energy has been producing caffeinated mints [9] but recently expanded to sell caffeinated gum.

A Viter Energy blog [10] explains about guarana that it is a vine that first grew wild in South America. Guaraná (Paullinia cupana), also known as Brazilian cocoa, grows as a shrub or woody vine in Brazil.  Because Guaraná seeds have the highest caffeine content (2.5%-5%), it’s been used in Brazilian soft drinks since 1909.

Viter Energy Gum [11] comes in mint and cinnamon flavors. It delivers caffeine over a sustained period of time, but the caffeine kicks in quicker than even a cup of coffee or an energy drink.

8. Prevents cavities

The American Dental Association website says [12]:

Clinical studies have shown that chewing sugarless gum for 20 minutes following meals can help prevent tooth decay.

The chewing of sugarless gum increases the flow of saliva, which washes away food and other debris, neutralizes acids produced by bacteria in the mouth and provides disease-fighting substances throughout the mouth. Increased saliva flow also carries with it more calcium and phosphate to help strengthen tooth enamel.

Sources:

[1] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21645566/

[2] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3158435/

[3] https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/stress-management/in-depth/stress/art-20046037

[4] -------

[5] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26188140/

[6] https://www.thehealthy.com/aging/mind-memory/benefits-of-chewing-gum/

[7] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16246942/

[8] https://www.goviter.com/collections/viter-energy-mints/products/viter-energy-caffeine-gum

[9] https://amzn.to/3jb7Gwg

[10] https://www.goviter.com/blogs/viter-energy-blog/plants-around-world-contain-caffeine

[11] https://amzn.to/3jb7Gwg

[12] https://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/az-topics/c/chewing-gum

Mark Miller
Mark Miller



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