It is easy to pop in a piece of gum to freshen your breath after your morning coffee – or maybe you are one of those people who is always chewing gum. Do you ever wonder if that gum chewing habit is affecting your teeth and if it’s one you should quit?
The cons of chewing gum
If you have noticed that you have been getting headaches lately and that your neck and jaw muscles seem tense all the time, it might be a sign you are developing TMJ (temporomandibular joint disorder). “TMJ” is a catch-all term for jaw joint problems. If you have been diagnosed with TMJ, the first piece of advice you’ll probably get is to stop chewing gum. Gum chewing can make TMJ worse because it tightens the neck and facial muscles and overworks the jaw muscles. Tension headaches and migraines have also been linked to constant gum chewing.
If you chew gum with sugar in it, this is, of course, bad for your teeth, as you are basically coating your teeth with sugar and keeping them coated for as long as you chew.
The pros of chewing gum
If you chew sugarless gum and you have no signs of TMJ or headaches, there are some pros to chewing gum. Chewing sugarless gum increases the saliva in your mouth, which can wash food particles and debris off of the teeth and gums. Gum that contains xylitol can help to prevent tooth decay. And, of course, gum can give you minty fresh breath (although it is not a substitute for brushing and flossing, of course). Chewing gum also has psychological benefits. Many people chew gum to help when they want to stop smoking or lose weight. And, studies show that chewing gum can help to reduce stress, improve memory, and make you more alert.
If you chew the right kind of gum and don’t seem to have any jaw pain or headaches when doing so, there are actually many benefits to gum chewing. If you do notice jaw or tooth pain, though, you should make an appointment with Pound Ridge Cosmetic Dentistry right away. Call 914-468-4759 for an appointment today!