Chewing gum has been around for a long time – hundreds of years, even, dating back to when ancient peoples chomped on tree resins. But chewing gum hasn’t always been smiled upon. Most schools still don’t allow students to chew gum during school, and the sugary gums many people grew up with got stuck with a bad rap by dentists.
But can chewing gum actually be good for both your brain and your teeth? The answer is yes, if you choose and chew the right kind. Here are five reasons why chewing gum can be healthy.
Studies have shown that chewing gum can help you focus at work and be more productive, not to mention being more alert. Some studies suggest it might boost memory, but those results are more mixed.
Wish you had a toothbrush on you, but you do have a pack of sugar-free gum? You’re in luck, because chewing gum can actually help clean teeth between meals, as long as you pick the sugar-free variety. Chewing gum helps your mouth produce more saliva. That’s a good thing, because the saliva does battle against the acid in your mouth produced by plaque bacteria, which forms after we eat. That bacteria can wear down the enamel on our teeth, and that can lead to cavities.
Sugar-free gum makes your breath nicer, and not just because you might pick a spearmint variety. The saliva your mouth produces when you chew gum can help reduce the effects of dry mouth, which can make breath smell worse.
Several studies have shown that chewing gum might help you feel calmer, by reducing feelings of stress and anxiety.
Chewing gum can be one tool in your weight loss toolkit. Gum chewers burn a few more calories per day than non-chewers. But perhaps more importantly, some studies show that chewing gum can make a dent in your snack cravings and help satiate that need to chew on something.