How long should you really chew gum? Experts weigh in with shocking recommendations
A dentist has revealed how long you should chew gum and what can happen if you keep it in your mouth for too long.
While sugar-free varieties can reduce the risk of cavities and help strengthen the muscles around the face, chewing sugar for too long can lead to tooth decay and certain jaw disorders.
“My recommendation is to chew gum for a maximum of 15 minutes,” Dr. Khaled Kasem, chief orthodontist and co-founder of Impress in Barcelona, told DailyMail.com.
Meanwhile, experts have warned that swallowing gum can lead to nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.
Chewing sugar-free gum can help prevent cavities and strengthen the muscles around the jaw. However, chewing for too long can cause tooth decay and worsen the condition of the jaw
But it’s not all negative. Sugar-free gum has been shown to reduce the risk of cavities.
This is because chewing gum produces saliva, which cleans up leftover bits of food and removes acids that cause bacteria in the mouth.
This bacteria can then cause cavities.
‘So basically with chewing gum we can lower the acidity and in this way we can prevent or reduce the risk of dental caries,’ said Dr Kasem.
Dr. However, Kasem said if you keep chewing gum for an extended period of time, like a few hours, the enamel, the smooth layer around your teeth, starts to wear down. This is called demineralization.
Dr. Khaled Kasem, chief orthodontist and co-founder of Impress in Barcelona, told DailyMail.com not to chew gum for more than 15 minutes a day
Without enamel, teeth are prone to cavities and decay.
In addition, chewing gum can aggravate disorders of the temporomandibular joints (TMJ), the two joints that connect the lower jaw to the skull. These are the joints that slide and rotate in front of the ears. They include the lower jaw and the temporal bone.
These joints control chewing, talking, yawning and swallowing, according to John Hopkins. Chewing gum exerts excessive force on them.
“Chewing gum may not cause a TMJ problem, but it may exacerbate the problem in patients with a TMJ injury,” said Dr. Kasem. “So we recommend not chewing gum for patients with TMJ [problems].’
Symptoms of TMJ disorders include pain in the jaw, shoulders, neck, or face, jaw stiffness, difficulty opening or closing your mouth, jaws popping or clicking, headache, ear pain, toothache, and ringing in the ears.
A 2014 study in the Journal of craniofacial surgery suggested that prolonged gum chewing might increase the likelihood of TMJ disorders.
Experts have also warned that swallowing gum can lead to a host of gastrointestinal problems.
According to the International Chewing Gum Association (ICGA), the stomach cannot break down the base of the gum, the part that gives it chewing gum.
This means it takes longer to digest and in rare cases can cause a blockage in the intestines.
Also a review in the magazine CNS and neurological disorders suggested that regular chewing gum may cause headaches in people prone to it.
Chewing gum can also make other bone and muscle conditions worse.
“Patients with some special conditions, such as arthritis or osteoporosis, should avoid these patients [chewing gum]’ said Dr. Kasem.
If you’re going to be chewing gum, Dr. Kasem recommends always opting for sugar-free varieties, especially those with artificial sweeteners like xylitol and sorbitol.
“Xylitol is the best,” he said. “It’s a natural sweetener.”
a 2017 review in the Journal of Natural Science, Biology and Medicine suggested that xylitol prevents the growth of harmful bacteria that cause cavities.
The American Dental Association (ADA) has also said adding sugar-free gum to a regular dental routine may help reduce the risk of tooth decay.