To Chew or Not to Chew?

There are numerous articles on the benefits of chewing gum. But are there any problems that can arise?

Articles by Dr. Mercola, an alternative medicine practitioner has several articles on the problems associated with the chemistry and the chewing activity.

As a dentist, the effects in the mouth are what I am most interested in. The chewing can cause a TMJ problem. The TMJ (temperomandibular joint) is the joint where the jaw meets the skull. It is quite a complex configuration for muscles, tendons, blood supply and nerves.  Too much chewing can put too much stress on the teeth, the TMJ and surrounding structures causing pain.

Another negative result can be had if you have silver fillings which are 50% mercury. There is a small amount of vapor given off from the filling all of the time, but chewing increases this vapor. This creates more exposure to the mercury.

In another part of the article, Dr. Mercola points out that there are several ingredients in some gums that should be avoided. One of them is titanium dioxide, which is used in M&M candies to show the M&M on the surface. This has been used for many years and is thought to be safe. However, it may be linked to autoimmune disorders, asthma, Crohn’s disease and is potentially carcinogenic.

So the question remains, to chew or not to chew?   As with anything, chewing gum should be fine and even beneficial for most people if done in moderation. – especially after meals.   If chewing gums causes problems such as jaw pain or other discomforts, then the answer is obvious – don’t chew it.  It’s not known to be addictive so quitting should be easy.