You know, if you really try, you can pretty much find some sort of evidence to prove that anything is either really good for you, or really bad for you (except for maybe trans fat, cigarettes and heroin). For instance, chewing gum. Yes, maybe it annoys teachers, isn’t allowed in most night clubs and makes you want to skin someone alive when you step on it on a warm day; but it also freshens your breath and can keep you from mowing your way through a pile of doughnuts because your mouth is already occupied. So then, when it comes to your health, is the chewy stuff good for you or bad for you? Your IE Weekly chisels the pros and cons from where they have solidified under the table, and presents them to you so that you can decide for yourself if you want to be a gum-baller.
Is there anyone who hasn’t experienced that uncomfortable sensation in his or her ears either when taking off or landing in an airplane? Airplane ear occurs when your eardrum bulges outward or retracts inward as a result of a difference in air pressure. Your ear can feel blocked, sounds can be muffled and you can feel pain from the stretching of your eardrum. Chewing gum encourages swallowing which can open your eustachian tube, thus allowing air to flow into or out of your middle ear and equalize pressure.
A Non-Carcinogenic Fix
Nicotine gum is made of a special material called polacrilex which is what allows the release of everyone’s favorite legal narcotic. Chewing your drug gum can help satisfy cravings for nicotine, and it keeps your mouth busy which may make you less likely to light up.
Can Stick to Your Shoe, But Not in You
Most people have heard the old wives’ tale that if you swallow your gum, it will sit in your stomach for seven years before it can be digested. Not true. If you swallow gum, your body can’t actually digest it, but, rather than sitting there, it progresses through your digestive system and is excreted in your poo (hairy-butted folks beware).
I hate to burst your Bubblicious, but when you chomp your Chiclets, you continuously swallow air, which can then find its way into your lower digestive tract and lead to flatulence. We all pass gas at least 12 times a day anyway, but do you really need/want to do it more?
Big League Chew on this—TMJ disorders include a variety of conditions that cause tenderness and pain in the temporomandibular ball-and-socket joints where your lower jawbone meets your skull. TMJ can simply be painful, or it can virtually lock your jaw. Chewing gum, a habit that can overwork the jaw muscles, may exacerbate the pain of TMJ disorders.
Death and Disease
Most chewing gum is sweetened with aspartame. Although the media periodically freaks out about the possible dangers associated with artificial sweeteners, the FDA has deemed aspartame safe for consumption in fairly large quantities; however, it isn’t safe for people who have the rare hereditary disease phenylketonuria (PKU). If your gum isn’t sweetened by aspartame, it is probably sweetened by sugar which has a whole heap of chronic health problems associated with it, such as obesity, diabetes, heart disease and emotional disorders. If you only like the sugary variety of gum, try chewing on carrot sticks instead. Or—and this is a good lesson for most of us—just learn to keep your mouth shut.