No matter how many times I’ve tried, I’ve never been able to blow a bubble with my chewing gum.
Although I’ve never been able to experience such a simple joy, that isn’t to say that I’m not a bubble gum enthusiast. I was that kid growing up that would shove half a pack of gum in my mouth at a time because I thought more gum meant more flavor. I always kept at least one pack in my pocket at all times.
But just like everything else from my childhood, chewing gum is forever ruined for me.
We all know that if you swallow your gum, you never actually digest it, but there are plenty of other ways chewing it can be harmful to your health…
1. Chewing gum can lead to headaches in teens.
In a study of 30 young people ages six to 19, each participant was given a daily amount of gum to chew. As the study progressed, it was discovered that each participant was developing severe migraines. After foregoing gum for nearly a month, more than half of the participants revealed that their headaches went away.
2. Chewing gum can increase junk food cravings.
While gum is often used to decrease food intake, it can also have an impact on the quality of the foods you are putting in your body. Gum flavors make you crave more salty and sweet foods, while simultaneously making healthy foods such as fruits and vegetables taste bitter.
3. Gum can cause temporomandibular joint disorder, or TMJ.
If you chew on one side of your mouth more than the other, you might be at greater risk for this joint disorder. Extended periods of chewing can also cause headaches, toothaches, and ear pain.
4. Chewing gum is linked to intestines and bowel issues.
You might not realize it, but when you chew gum (or any food, for that matter), you’re inhaling more air into your body than you normally would. This excess air can cause an increase in heartburn or other gastrointestinal problems.
5. Sugar-free gum isn’t immune to causing tooth damage.
Sugar-free gum, like diet soda, uses other artificial sweeteners that can be just as bad for you as the real deal. The synthetic compounds found in these alternatives can decay your teeth at an alarming rate. They can also be quickly absorbed in your body through the inside of your cheeks.
6. Gum is made with sheep by-products.
Most gum products contain lanolin, a waxy substance that helps them stay soft when chewing. While lanolin isn’t actually bad for you, the fact that the ingredient is made from sheep’s wool isn’t exactly appealing.
7. Gum can release mercury from your fillings.
A good majority of our crowns and tooth fillings contain at least some percentage of mercury. In a dental study, it was revealed that chewing gum can increase the amount of mercury vapor released into your body.