Is chewing gum good for you?

You may have heard that chewing gum is good—and bad—for you.

Here are some interesting pros and cons to chew on.

Chewing sugarless gum can help prevent tooth decay1

Research shows that chewing sugarless gum for 20 minutes after meals can help prevent tooth decay. That's because the act of chewing increases the flow of saliva in your mouth which washes away food and other debris. The extra saliva also provides more calcium and phosphate to help strengthen tooth enamel.

Chewing sugarless gum can help you lose weight2

Trying to slim down? Chewing sugarless gum can help control your appetite and reduce snack cravings in many ways.

  • Chew gum when you get the urge to snack between meals
  • Pop a piece in your mouth to signal the end of the meal
  • Chew gum to prevent mindless munching while watching TV
  • Chew a piece while you cook to prevent nibbling
  • Keep a pack of gum in your purse or pocket to resist high-calorie temptations

Chewing sugarless gum can prevent heartburn3

Saliva is an acid buffer. The extra saliva produced by chewing gum can help ease the symptoms of heartburn, also known as gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD. Another perk: chewing gum also makes you swallow more, which can push the acids back down your esophagus.

Chewing sugarless gum can stop bad breath4

Halitosis, commonly known as bad breath, has many causes. One of those causes is a lack of saliva, or dry mouth. The extra saliva from chewing gum can keep your mouth moist and your breath fresher (especially if your gum is flavored).

Chewing sugarless gum can improve your mood and mind5

Feeling stressed? Need to concentrate better? Some research has shown that chewing gum can reduce stress and improve concentration, alertness and memory.

When chewing gum can be bad for you

There are some cases where you should avoid chewing gum:

  • If the gum has sugar – Sugar-sweetened gum can increase your risk for tooth decay and cavities.6
  • If you have temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ) – Excessive chewing can strain your jaw and worsen your symptoms.7
  • If you have crowns or fillings – The chewing action and stickiness of gum can loosen or even break some dental work.
  • If you have braces – Gum can get stuck in the brackets and bend the wires of metal, ceramic or lingual braces.

Humana offers dental plans

If you’re looking for dental insurance, Humana can help. We offer a broad range of dental plans with varying levels of coverage, many with low monthly premiums. Some of our plans also feature no waiting periods, which means you could get covered in about 5 days. To see plans and prices in your area, check out our Humana Insurance Company dental insurance page.

Sources

  1. “Chewing Gum to Prevent Cavities,” American Dental Association, last accessed February 11, 2021, https://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/az-topics/c/chewing-gum, opens new window.
  2. “Diet Myth or Truth: Chewing Gum for Weight Loss,” WebMD, last accessed February 11, 2021, https://www.webmd.com/diet/obesity/features/diet-myth-or-truth-chewing-gum-for-weight-loss#1, opens new window.
  3. “The Hidden Powers of Gum,” American Dental Association, last accessed February 11, 2021, https://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/chewing-gum-quiz, opens new window.
  4. “Bad breath,” Mayo Clinic, last accessed February 11, 2021, https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/bad-breath/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20350925, opens new window.
  5. “To Chew or Not to Chew Gum (When Studying)?,” Psychology Today, last accessed February 11, 2021, https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/finding-new-home/201905/chew-or-not-chew-gum-when-studying, opens new window.
  6. “Chewing Gum to Prevent Cavities.”
  7. “TMJ,” American Dental Association, last accessed February 11, 2021, https://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/az-topics/t/tmj, opens new window.