How Chewing Gum Can Help
Chewing gum is often just viewed as a tasty treat, but it can also be surprisingly healthy. Everyone knows that a stick of gum can make your breath smell fresher, but it has benefits, ranging from physical health to mental health, that go far beyond minty fresh breath. Here are six ways that chewing gum can help you to maintain or increase your health.
1. Prevents Cavities
When a person starts chewing, the body naturally produces saliva to help digest any food that is chewed. Since gum is repeatedly chewed without swallowing, it quickly boosts saliva production. This constant flow of saliva helps to remove debris from teeth and remineralize any weakened areas of enamel, greatly helping to prevent cavities.
2. Lowers Stress
Some studies have found that chewing gum can reduce levels of cortisol, the hormone that rises with a person is stressed. High cortisol levels are linked to anxiety, stress, high blood pressure, and trouble sleeping, so it is important to keep them as low as possible. Scientists theorize that chewing gum can be a good outlet for nervous energy.
3. Boosts Cognition
As a person chews gum, they have up to a 40% increase in blood flow to the brain. This provides more oxygen, which helps the brain to concentrate, memorize, and react to new information, so studies have found that overall mental performance on tests is improved as people chew gum.
4. Reduces Sugar Cravings
Many people who are dieting find that chewing on a stick of sugar-free gum can lower their desires for sugary desserts. Gum is naturally low in calories, so even large amounts of gum will not cause people to gain weight. Both the chewing action and the pleasing flavors help many people to manage their diet and lose weight that was negatively affecting their health.
5. Soothes Nausea
Many people suffer from nausea that prevents them from getting enough nutrients as they eat. Not only does saliva production aid in digestion, but gums made with ginger and other nausea-easing herbs can be extremely beneficial at lowering nausea levels. This can be useful during an illness, a pregnancy, or at any other times that you face nausea.
6. Eases Acid Reflux
The saliva boosting effects of chewing gum also help to lower the amount of stomach acid that backs up into the esophagus of people with acid reflux disease. By chewing gum after a meal, a person swallows more saliva, so they can quickly remove acid that coats the esophagus and causes heartburn. However, minty flavors should be avoided because they can actually increase acid levels.