To Chew, or Not to Chew, That is the Question


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Growing up, chewing gum always seemed to have a negative image tied to it for whatever reason. My question is if it has anything to do health or was it just disrespectful or a nuisance to others. During middle school is when gum really started to get big when I was growing up and that was when I first started to realize its negative image. The reason I think that happened during middle school was because a lot of kids had braces and I know from personal experience that gum can break your braces, which isn't cheap to fix so I can see why parents might not like their kids chewing gum. However, I want to know if it has a direct effect on your dental health, not on your dental appearance as a cause of braces.

The American Dental Association (ADA) has a webpage that claims that there have been clinical studies done that show that chewing sugarless gum after a meal for about 20 minutes can help prevent tooth decay. The reason why this happens is because chewing gum stimulates the creation of saliva in your mouth. And although it may seem like a pointless thing it actually isn't because saliva has the ability to get rid of certain decay causing bacteria among other things. All different kinds of gum have the ability to stimulate the creation of saliva, however the sugarless gum is the one that has the most benefit because it doesn't have sugar that the bacteria thrive on and eventually leads to teeth decay causing all different types of dental problems. The sugarless gum contains non-cavity causing sweeteners, which prevent the bacteria from causing tooth decay.

My final conclusion on this is that when it comes to dental health in terms of tooth decay, chewing gum is not negative; it is in fact a good thing. However, chewing gum should not take place of daily dental care because it does not provide all of the benefits of brushing and flossing, etc. If you are in a rush and don't have time to brush your teeth, popping in a piece of gum and chewing it for a while could be helpful. The ADA recommends chewing gum with the ADA seal to assure you that it is beneficial to your dental health and not causing harm.



 

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My dentist has told me that chewing gum is not very good for your jaw because it is a constant excersie for it. However, he did tell me that chewing gum can be beneficial for cavities because after you eat or anytime in the day you have food particles in your mouth, the gum you chew collects a good amount of that food that is still in your teeth. This does not make up for brushing your teeth or flossing, but it is still another aspect that could be helpful to preventing cavities. I wasn't aware that gum was good for preventing tooth decay but I find this interesting. Growing up you were never allowed to chew gum during school so in my eyes it was never a good thing to chew gum. But after knowing this I think they should allow kids to chew gum if they want to.

This was an interesting blog to me because I chew gum at least five times a day. Though I had no idea that chewing sugarless gum could help our teeth after eating. This post reminded me of a website I read where chewing gum can also help our reaction time. Japanese scientists held a study where they had participants watch a clip with "visual cues by pressing handheld triggers". They found that by chewing gum we stimulate the premotor cortex of our brain and this allows our reaction time to increase. For more on the experiment click on this link: http://www.nbcnews.com/health/chewing-gum-improves-your-reaction-time-study-suggests-1C8730312 So chewing gum has many benefits for us.

I found this study that was done on the effects of chewing gum on test performance. They were testing different sugar levels and wanted to see if the act of chewing would arouse or create a feeling of energy making you more alert. I thought it was a new way to look at how gum can have an impact on test performance rather than on tooth decay. What do you think about this? Also once you look at their study do you think caffeine (coffee) would have more of an effect on test performance or gum?

http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2011/11/the-
cognitive-benefits-of-chewing-gum/

I found this study that was done on the effects of chewing gum on test performance. They were testing different sugar levels and wanted to see if the act of chewing would arouse or create a feeling of energy making you more alert. I thought it was a new way to look at how gum can have an impact on test performance rather than on tooth decay. What do you think about this? Also once you look at their study do you think caffeine (coffee) would have more of an effect on test performance or gum?

http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2011/11/the-
cognitive-benefits-of-chewing-gum/

I figure that the bad image of chewing gum comes from the fact that students may stick their old pieces on random furniture in school and not take care to throw it out. It is also distracting in a younger school setting, for the teacher and the students. I always understood why it was deemed to be rude in the classroom, but I never found it to have negative benefits. Whenever I chew gum, it is always sugarless. It is possible that gum companies offer more sugarless options as it may be higher in demand. Chewing gum keeps me awake, distracted, and helps suppress my appetite in most cases, not to mention, keeping my breath fresh. Not only does gum have health benefits, but there are many other reasons why you should consider chewing it more often. Here's an article all about that: http://www.3fatchicks.com/5-surprising-health-benefits-of-chewing-gum/

My dentist actually told me the opposite of what this post said. I chew on ice a lot as well as gum and it's started to create problems for my jaw. I'm at the point now that whenever I open up my mouth wide enough, it pops. He told me that if I keep chewing gum and ice that it could cause serious issues in the future so maybe that's why chewing gum has a negative image. It may not cause issues for your teeth but it does for your jaw.

I always wondered if gum was bad for you or not. Sometimes in the mornings after breakfast I will be in too much of a hurry and just pop a piece of gum in my mouth to get a clean feeling in my mouth hoping that it was a good enough replacement of brushing my teeth. However, my sister is not suppose to chew gum because it messed up her jaw which makes a popping noise when she chews so I think there could be another thing unless my sister is just a weirdo which is what I like to believe.

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