Got a Headache? Stop Chewing Gum!

by | Dental Hygiene |

Chewing gum has been a favourite candy staple for thousands of years, dating as far back as the Neolithic period. Today, this confection comes in a variety of flavours (ranging from mint to fruit flavours… and even liquorice!), and has a long history in many countries. Unlike many candies, which contain sugar and can wear down a person’s enamel and teeth without continual brushing, some gum types have been created to have helpful properties, and can be a benefit to overall tooth care.

 

What is sugar-free gum?

Sugar-free gum does not have any sugar in it. The taste is added using sweeteners, and therefore the gum does not cause tooth decay. The gum releases its flavours over a period of time, just like ordinary gum.

A researcher has found that gum-chewing teenagers, and younger children as well, are giving themselves headaches with this habit. These findings could help treat countless cases of migraine and tension headaches in adolescents without the need for additional testing or medication.

87% of gum-chewing teenagers who suffer with regular headaches could cure themselves by giving up chewing gum.

Chewing gum can bring on a headache because you are using so many muscles in your face and jaw and keeping this up repeatedly for hours on end can make anyone’s head hurt. If you are getting dizzy and your headaches are really bad, it could be due to the artificial sweetner in your chewing gum. I wouldn’t recommend chewing gum with real sugar in it, because rotten Teeth can make your head hurt too. So it could be a combination of the chewing and what is in the gum.

 

Sugar-free gum helps to clean teeth

Studies have shown that chewing sugar-free gum after meals and snacks can help rinse off and neutralize the acids released by the bacteria in plaque, which are harmful to tooth enamel. Both the act of chewing and the flavor of the artificial sweeteners in the gum stimulate ten times the normal rate of saliva flow. Not only does the increased saliva flow neutralize the acids in your mouth, it also washes away food particles, helping to keep your teeth clean.

To chew or not to chew

Although chewing sugar-free gum can be beneficial in most instances, there are some cases in which chewing gum is not recommended. For example, if you are experiencing any type of jaw pain or temporomandibular disorder symptoms (TMD/TMJ), you should refrain from chewing gum and talk to your dentist about what options are available to you.

Chewing gum does appear to contribute to migraines and tension headaches in some teens.

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About the author Dr Rik Trivedi

Dr Rik Trivedi

Dr Rik Trivedi is the Principal dentist at Parrock Dental & Implant Centres. He has a keen interest in Cosmetic Smile Dentistry and braces, Dental implants, Facial Aesthetics, Prevention and is very experienced in the design and placement of Cerec Same Day Crown technology.