The Health Benefits of Chewing Gum
If you enjoy a good piece of chewing gum, you may actually be doing good things for your body. In the old days, chewing gums were made primarily with corn sweeteners which helped to promote tooth decay. In the modern age, more chewing gums are made with natural sweeteners such as xylitol, that not only doesn't contribute to tooth decay, but is even thought to promote good oral health. It's even endorsed by six national dental associations. Now that sugarless gums are widely available, what are the health benefits of chewing gum?
It helps to promote weight loss
Chewing gum may help with weight loss in several ways. It can be used as a calorie free treat to divert attention away from higher calorie offerings such as cakes and cookies. The sweet taste of the gum may be all that's needed to offset a potential binge. Plus, when your mouth tastes sweet and clean you're less likely to reach for food. Chewing gum also burns calories. Although calories burned while chewing gum are only around ten to eleven calories per hour, these can add up over time and result in slight weight loss. Many dieters swear by chewing gum as a weight loss aid.
It promotes good oral hygiene
When you chew gum, you promote saliva flow which can help to flush away bacteria that can contribute to tooth decay, gum disease, and bad breath. It also neutralizes some of the acids in the mouth that can contribute to tooth decay. The benefits on oral hygiene are even greater if you chew a gum sweetened with xylitol. According to a study published in the Journal of the American Dental Association, chewing gum containing xylitol for at least five minutes after every meal can reduce levels of bacteria that are known to cause tooth decay.
It may reduce tension and anxiety
Chewing on a stick of gum may reduce tension and anxiety while helping to release nervous energy according to information published by the Wrigley Science Institute. In fact, the military supplied chewing gum to soldiers during World War I to help them reduce their levels of stress during combat duties.
It may improve memory
According to an article released by New Scientist, chewing gum may help to improve memory. British psychologists conducted a study which showed that persons taking a test showed better short term and long term memory scores when they chewed gum during the test then when they didn't. The mechanism by which chewing gum may improve memory is still unknown.
Although chewing gum has a variety of benefits, some people may be sensitive to the artificial sweeteners found in many sugarless gums which can result in diarrhea and flatulence. The long term health effects of consuming high quantities of artificial sweeteners are unknown. For this reason, it's best to look for naturally sweentend gum and consider moderating the amount of gum you chew on a daily basis. It's still nice to know that something so sweet tasting can potentially be so healthy!
Health Disclaimer. Copyright ©2014. Published with permission. Dr. Kristie Leong is a freelance writer and is not directly affiliated with avivahealth.com.
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