Is chewing gum giving you a headache?

2014Aug08_GenPharma_ADid you know that the average person chews over 300 sticks of gum in one year? There are 3.74 trillion sticks of chewing gum made each year and annual chewing gum sales in the U.S. exceeds $2 billion. With statistics like that, it’s important to know the facts on what we’re putting in our bodies.

Facts on Chewing Gum: The Good and Bad

Many of us have been under the impression that chewing gum exercises our jaw muscles, freshens breath and helps maintain oral health. That all sounds positive, but chewing gum also has its downsides. It can cause stress, headaches, gas, bloating and tension.

Like candy, sugary gum can increase the likelihood of dental cavities. That’s why dentists recommend sugar free gum. However, sugar free gums contain sorbitol and artificial sweeteners, which trigger pain in the frontal lobe of the skull that can lead to a severe migraine in some cases. Migraines caused by gum are especially common in teens and children. The sorbitol ingredient can also lead to abdominal pain, fructose malabsorption and even colon cancer. On the other hand, gum can be a useful tool for smokers to camouflage the smell of tobacco or to help prevent cravings.

Why does chewing gum cause headaches?

There are two main reasons why chewing gum causes headache. First, most popular gum brands are loaded with artificial sweeteners, sugars and preservatives. Even medicated gums may contain some controversial ingredients. Also, while chewing gum, the jaw muscles are continuously moving. Have you ever noticed that when there is gum in your mouth, you tend to constantly chew it without giving your jaws a break? The continuous movement of the TMJ muscles cause stress to the bone and frontal lobe of the head.

If you suffer from frequent headaches for an unknown reason, chewing gum could be the culprit. If taking a break from gum doesn’t reduce your symptoms, be sure to speak with a healthcare professional about the potential for more serious underlying issues. The staff at [company_short] is always here to answer any questions.

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