Millions of people love gum. Some people chew it to help them focus, some chew it to fight boredom, and some use it for a fresh breath. It has been told to patients for years, sugar-free gum is a good substitute when you can’t brush… sadly this is incorrect.
Don’t get me wrong, an occasional piece probably won’t hurt you or mess up your teeth, but everything is about moderation. If you are a continual gum chewer you may be surprised at the potential for danger that comes with this seemingly innocent activity.
Chewing gum, especially frequently, increases your risk for developing a muscle disorder or Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMJ). This can become a chronic and painful condition if it is left untreated. Your jaw muscles essentially get overused, as a result you can develop jaw pain, headaches, toothaches, and earaches. To find out more about TMJ, visit my page at http://www.northmiamibeachdentist.com/tmj-disorders/.
It is a myth that sugarless gum is harmless to your teeth. While the danger from regular gum comes from the sugar, with sugar-free gum the danger comes from acidic flavorings. The flavors and preservatives will lead to dental erosion over time. Many gums contain xylitol which is designed to fight cavities, but even this is no guarantee.
Maybe you chew gum as a way to divert junk food cravings. Seems logical, if you are chewing gum, then you are not eating. While studies show that gum chewing does reduce your motivation to eat, it may lead you to choose less nutritious meals. The mint flavoring in most gums makes fruits take on a bitter taste, this could be why gum choosers tend to choose junk food over nutritious food.
Teenagers, who have a particular fondness for gum, can find themselves getting frequent migraines. Get more info at http://www.northmiamibeachdentist.com/dental-services/headache-treatment/.The cause is two-fold. First, aspartame, which is found in certain gums is horrible for your health. The second part may be related to early stages of TMJ. A recent study found that when 30 teenagers, all frequent gum chewers, quit for one month, most of their headaches either stopped or lessened. Those who started chewing gum again found that their headaches returned.
Even though you don’t swallow your gum (hopefully), chewing it can still cause gastrointestinal problems. When you chew gum, your body takes in extra air, causing bloating, IBS, and sometimes pain. Gum also tricks your body into thinking it is receiving food. Your body starts all of the digestive processes, releasing acids and enzymes, but, without food to dissolve it just builds in your gut. Over time, your digestive process is weakened. This means that when it comes time to eat, your body does not produce enough of the necessary enzymes to complete the process.
If you still can’t imagine getting through your day without gum, at least be on the lookout for four of the ingredients that should be avoided at all costs: Butylated Hydroxytoluene (BHT), gum base, Calcium Phosphate (Calcium Casein Peptone), and Titanium Dioxide.
BHT, despite being extremely toxic is used in gums and processed foods. Many other countries have outlawed it, but in the US, no such ban exists. It causes liver and kidney damage, hyperactivity in kids, and it may be cancer causing.
Gum manufacturers are pretty cautious about not releasing exactly what is in the ever mysterious gum base. It is mostly fillers, resins, elastomers, and plasticizers. Beyond this, the ingredients could be anything.
Casein was recently linked to the poisonings of baby formula that happened in China. Despite this, here we are, chewing on it voluntarily. It’s cousin, calcium casein peptone, is found as a whitening agent in gums. Not much research has been done concerning the long-term effects of ingesting casein.
Another whitener, titanium dioxide, has been linked to asthma, Crohn’s disease, autoimmune disorders, and possibly cancer. Children who are exposed to toxins are usually exposed to titanium dioxide.
Before treating gum, tooth, or other oral problems consult with Dr. JJ Edderai. A dental check-up every three to four months will allow Dr. Edderai to keep a watchful eye on your oral health and prevent cavities before they start. For answers to some of the most commonly asked questions, visit my FAQ page at http://www.northmiamibeachdentist.com/faqs/.
Copyright Dr. Jean-Jacques Edderai -2015