Avoid chewing gum as it is a bad habit

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Avoid chewing gum as it is a bad habit
© Provided by The Statesman Avoid chewing gum as it is a bad habit

Researchers have proved that chewing gum can boost your mood and alertness while combating stress. But it is also proved that chewing gum can cause an array of health issues that can be more painful than mood swings and temporary stress.

  • Most chewing gum contains artificial sweeteners which will hurt your health regardless of whether the gum contains sugar or not.
  • People who chew gum are less likely to eat healthy foods such as fruits and vegetables and more likely to consume harmful foods such as potato chips and candy, according to a 2013 academic study on eating habits. Eating these less healthy foods, in turn, can lead to tooth decay.
  • Chewing gum can potentially cause mercury to be released from mercury amalgam fillings.
  • Chewing gum can also lead to tooth decay and erosion, especially when sweetened with sugar. When you chew sugar-sweetened gum, you are essentially bathing your teeth and gums in a bath of sugar for a sustained period.
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In the United States, 59% of the population regularly uses chewing gum. This number is higher only in Iran (82%) and Saudi Arabia (79%)! The reason for the rates being higher in the Middle East is the presence of a cultural tradition where small merchants routinely hand out chewing gum in place of small change.

If you chew gum regularly, too, it’s important to know how the habit impacts your body, from your teeth to your stomach and beyond. Here are all the ways chewing gum is hurting you more than it’s helping you.

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TMJ (TEMPOROMANDIBULAR JOINT / JAW) DISORDERS

The temporomandibular joint, or TMJ, is the place where your jawbone attaches to your skull. TMJ disorders result from the muscles which control this join becoming fatigued or unbalanced. While most gum chewing does not cause TMJ disorders, people who develop a regular gum-chewing habit can experience muscle fatigue which places them at risk of TMJ disorders. Aggressive gum chewing or lopsided chewing (chewing only on one side of the mouth) both increase the risk of developing TMJ disorders, as these behaviors are more stressful on the TMJ area than others.

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TOOTH DEFORMITIES

Chewing gum regularly as a habit can also lead to excessive wear on the tooth enamel, and even lead to changes in your bite alignment. Specifically, the upper molars may spread apart gradually, while the lower molars begin to gradually drift backward leading to an overbite. If the behavior continues and is left unchecked, these changes can eventually lead to the need for orthodontic care to correct them. Additionally, if the enamel is allowed to gradually wear down, the teeth may become sensitive to hot or cold foods beverages, or acidic foods.

HEADACHES

Some gum chewers, especially younger people such as teens in high school have experienced headaches as a result of excessive gum chewing. This is a result of the jaw muscles becoming fatigued. These headaches are usually the result of a student chewing gum as a way of dealing with stress, such as when studying for or taking an important test. This stress tends to lead to chewing harder and faster as well, which further exacerbates the problem, leading to a tension headache.

CAVITIES

Dentists generally recommend sugar-free gum. However, if you chew gum that is not sugar-free, while you might avoid some of the potential pitfalls that come with artificial sweeteners (assuming only sugar is used and not a combination of artificial and natural sweeteners), you may put yourself at an increased risk of developing cavities due to exposing your teeth to sugar for a prolonged period. This risk is worsened if you develop a regular habit of chewing sugary gum.

IT CAN MAKE YOUR INDIGESTION SYMPTOMS WORSE.

A lot of people chew gum to help relieve the feeling of nausea or an upset stomach, but the gum can make these unpleasant symptoms worse. When you chew gum, you swallow a bunch of little sips of air over time, filling your stomach with unwanted gas. This process can lead to additional bloating and make your tummy feel even more distended than it did before. Talk about an unhappy digestive system.

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