While chewing gum can seem like a wonderful alternative to sugary snacks for your kids, it may have worse side effects than you might think. Think about the following things before you slide the next piece of gum to your children
A recent study found that chewing gum daily was linked to headaches in a group of teens. The test subjects stopped chewing gum for one month, and for ⅔ of them, their headaches went away, and about ½ of the remaining subjects had significant reductions in their headache amount and severity. When they began chewing gum again, their headaches came back.
Increase Junk Food
Many people chew gum in order to avoid snacking on unhealthy foods. However, the opposite effect actually occurs. While people who chew gum do have a reduced motivation to eat, the things they do eat tend to be less healthy. Gum chewers are more likely to reach for potato chips and candy after they finish chewing than fruits and vegetables (part of that is due to the minty flavor of the gum – it makes fruits and vegetables taste bitter).
Increase Chances of TMJ
Chewing gum puts an excessive amount of stress on your jaw that can lead to TMJ. TMJ (temporomandibular joint disorder) is a painful condition that comes from overuse of certain muscles in your jaw. It can lead to headaches, neck pain, earaches, and other problems.
Gum that has sugar in it allows the sugar to coat your teeth while you chew. That can lead to plaque buildup and tooth decay. Even sugar free gum can be dangerous for your teeth, as they can contain artificial flavors and preservatives that can cause your teeth to slowly dissolve. If you have mercury fillings, chewing gum can allow the neurotoxin to release into your body.
Chewing gum can lead to stress in your stomach and intestines. It can worsen symptoms of IBS. Your stomach needs time to rest from food in order to digest, but if you consistently chew gum, you swallow an excessive amount of spit, not allowing your body to properly digest. The chewing also signals to your body that you are about to swallow food, so the enzymes and acids that your body uses to digest are activated, causing all sorts of problems. Your body can become bloated, start to over-produce stomach acid, and lessen your ability to digest food when you actually do eat. The artificial sweeteners in the gum can also cause diarrhea and gastrointestinal problems.