Here are 9 facts that may burst your bubble about that old stick of gum. Or that fresh one you just put in your mouth.
With the world's oldest piece of chewing gum clocking in at 9,000 years old, and the total value of the US gum industry racking up more than $19 billion in sales, chewing gum is one of the oldest and most popular activities, with research shwoing that the oldest piece of gum was 9000 years old. Howver is it a healthy habit?
Here we have some insight into the good, the bad and the ugly on gum chewing.
· Chewing as little as one piece of gum per day can stimulate saliva, which helps wash away those harmful acids from your teeth, and in turn helps fight cavities, neutralizes plaque acids, and washes away food particles.
· Chewing gum might be helpful after meals when additional enzymes are needed for digestion. Chewing gum for a few minutes after eating does seem to help some people avoid indigestion, heartburn, or reflux.
· Most chewing gum is sweetened with a chemical called xylitol, an additive that is allowed by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to make the medical claim that it does not promote dental cavities. The harmful micro-organisms within your mouth are starved in the presence of xylitol, allowing the mouth to "remineralize" damaged teeth with less interruption.
· Probably the number one reason to avoid most chewing gums is that they are loaded with chemicals and synthetic ingredients. Corn syrup, artificial colors and flavors and chemical sweeteners are enough to cause any label-reading person to steer clear of these seemingly harmless treats.
· Most people don't realize that the amount of digestive enzymes your body can produce in a given lifetime is relatively finite. If you chew gum frequently between meals, it is very feasible that you are using up your digestive enzyme reserves so that the next time you eat, you won't have enough digestive enzymes on hand to fully digest the meal.
· According to the International Chewing Gum Association, the average person chews over 3,000 sticks of gum yearly. Recent reports have found that excessive gum chewing can easily aggravate jaw muscles and thereby ultimately cause TJM syndrome (temporomandibular joint disorder) - a clicking or popping noise in the jaw.
· Probably the most important reason to abstain from chewing gum is that it releases mercury from dental amalgam fillings. Given that mercury is a neurotoxin in any amount in the body, it seems that chewing gum is an activity that should be undertaken with extreme caution if you have even a single silver filling.
· For pregnant women with silver fillings, chewing gum can prove toxic to the fetus should any mercury whatsoever be released into the bloodstream
· All sugar free gums contain the ingredient Sorbitol. Eating even three pieces of gum a day can lead to excessive amounts of Sorbitol in the system which can lead to severe abdominal pain, fructose malabsorption and in extreme cases colon cancer.
You might want to think twice the next time you pop a piece of chewing gum into your mouth.
Marc Liechtung, DMD is the founder of Manhattan Dental Arts and the Inventor of the Snap-on-Smile®. Manhattan Dental Arts P.C. is located on the Upper West Side at 68th and Broadway. We specialize in dental cleanings,emergency dentistry, dental implants, all-on-4 dental implants, full mouth reconstruction, dental crowns, root canals,periodontics, Snap on Smile, dental bridges, dentures, extractions, smile makeovers and all forms of general and cosmetic dentistry. If you are looking for an emergency dentist in NYC then we offer free consultations. The practice group also owns Kew Gardens Dental Arts, a dental practice in Queens offering dental implants in Queens, emergency dentistry in Queens, teeth cleaning in Queens, dental crowns, dental bridges and all forms of cosmetic and general dentistry. If you are looking for a periodontist in Queens we offer all gum disease treatments at our practice for patients with all types of gum disease.