Friday, July 19, 2013

The Results Of Excessive Gum Eating

Good gum, bad gum.

A Mt. Vernon, Ohio, dentist took out the first patent on chewing gum in 1869. The earliest recorded gum chewers are prehistoric people who chewed tree resin. Other ancient peoples chewed tree sap, usually to clean the teeth or freshen the breath. People today chew gum for the same reasons. Americans chew about 300 pieces of gum a year, and they have more than 1,000 varieties from which to choose, including sugarless gum. Gum chewing, like any product, has positive and negative effects. Surprisingly, the positive effects of gum chewing are many; however, excessive use can present problems.

Temporomandibular Joint Disorder

Dr. Joseph Sweer at Northwestern Health Sciences University points to repetitive chewing on one side of the mouth as a possible cause of temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ). TMJ is a painful disorder of the jaw that causes popping and clicking. Chewing on one side of the mouth, common with people who have had teeth pulled, can cause muscle imbalance in the jaw. The National Institutes of Health recommends that those diagnosed with TMJ avoid certain jaw movements, including gum chewing.

Sugar and Tooth Decay

According to the American Dental Association (ADA), eating sugary foods can result in the break-down of tooth enamel, which leads to cavities. Bacteria in the plaque that forms on teeth binds with sugar and starches to create acids that eat away at tooth enamel. The ADA recommends that gum-chewers opt for sugar-free gum.

Aspartame and Toxicity Studies

Sugar-free chewing gum is often sweetened with aspartame, an artificial sweetener that is the object of controversy about its toxicity in high uses. The National Institutes of Health continues to conduct research studies on aspartame and cancer. Past studies have shown no causal relation in humans, but studies using mice have resulted in different conclusions.

Sorbitol and Weight Loss

Sorbitol is an artificial sweetener that acts as a laxative in some people. Patients complaining of diarrhea and severe weight loss have been found by doctors to regularly, and sometimes excessively, chew gum sweetened with sorbitol. The National Institutes of Health confirms that sorbitol acts as a laxative.

Good Effects

Research is plentiful on the beneficial effects of chewing gum. It is common knowledge that chewing gum helps alleviate ear-popping during airplane flights. The ADA says that chewing gum can prevent tooth decay by increasing saliva, which rinses away acid and spreads more calcium. Studies report that gum chewers showed improved concentration and decreased tension. Because of additives, chewing gum can be used to deliver medication, to stop smoking and to whiten teeth.

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