Chewing gum, is not a modern invention it can be traced back to 1000s of years ago. This candy comes from a birch tree resin. the ancient Mediterranean people already chewed this resin of sweet taste extracted from the seedling of the trees in order to sanitize the teeth and also to freshen their breath.
It consists mainly of granulated sugar, maltose, gum base and flavorings, but sugar has now been replaced by some brands by sweeteners such as sorbitol, mannitol, and xylitol among others. Flavorings are responsible for flavoring the gum, whether strawberry, mint or menthol etc.
There is a variety of chewing gum, called “therapeutic chewing gum”, which contain fluoride, which helps to remineralize enamel, xylitol, which remineralizes incipient caries, while inhibiting the development of streptococcal mutans , responsible for dental caries . And there are others that contain substances that help to whiten teeth.
Advantage of chewing gum:
- Reduces acidity in the mouth: Chewing gum increases twice the flow of saliva, which is its greatest benefit. Saliva is essential because its enzymes neutralize the acid from food and drink. The chewing gum neutralizes the oral acid in about 20 or 30 minutes, when normally that takes about an hour. In addition, saliva contains calcium and iron phosphate, which are beneficial to the teeth.
- Medicine Vehicle: Nicotine gum has helped many people stop smoking, and researchers now studying other medicinal uses of chewing gum. In Canada, chewing gum for type 2 diabetes patients is being tested containing metformin, a drug that controls glucose. Nowadays this one is sold in tablets, but soon there could be a sweet chewing gum version for children.
- The main reason for many is by its effect to stimulate the production of saliva. This reduces the acidity in the mouth and stomach, but also mineralize the teeth thanks to calcium and iron.
- Others, as in ancient Greece, use it to improve concentration through a repetitive act by which they manage to reduce anxiety, stress. The explanation is that the act of chewing gum leads to a greater flow of blood to the brain.
- Chewing gum has more oral benefits, especially when chewing gums have xylitol. This inhibits the growth of bacteria and promotes the remineralization of the tooth, reducing the risk of caries (and the formation of tartar). Although for better results nothing better than using a good brushing of teeth.Research from Finland suggests that chewing gum with the sweetener xylitol can lower the risk of ear infection.
- As a cleansing action when acting on bad breath (halitosis), especially when chewing gum are mentholated.
- For smokers it has always been a good “substitute”. The habit of chewing gum achieves a relaxing effect that when it becomes routine supplements the act of smoking, although this benefit is more subjective.
- Like candy, chewing gums can help control hearing pressure when we go in an airplane or climb to a certain height thanks to the relaxation of the temporomandibular joint.
Disadvantages of chewing gum:
- One of the disadvantages of chewing gum it can lift dental fillings (dental sealants, amalgams, composite restorations, etc.), loosen crowns, bridges, etc. note that these prostheses are cemented with an adhesive. If the use of chewing gum is compulsive, it can cause distension of the ligaments of the maxillary joint.
- When consumed in excess the chewing gums can produce gastritis, colics, intestinal gases.
- Aspartame, a sweetener used in some unsweetened chewing gum, contains phenylalanine, a substance that is dangerous to people with phenylketonuria, an inherited disease that affects brain development . But for healthy adults, phenylalanine is safe, says Bernadene Magnuson of the University of Toronto School of Medicine. More than 290 chewing gums needs to be chewed to exceed the safe limit.
- Although we have said that it is an advantage for oral health, if gums have sugar can cause the opposite effect, especially in children, encouraging the genesis of cavities. With a good cleaning after consumption can be avoided.
- Again by excess or by an unnatural movement of chewing the gum or by doing so with too much force, it can affect the closure of the mouth (dental occlusion), affecting and eroding the temporomandibular joints.
- The chewing gum can be used to lose weight thanks to its satiating effect, reducing the impulse to take food. This can be harmful because our body may need to ingest food and we are inhibiting the warnings that may manifest us.
- Removing chewing gum from the sidewalks is a difficult job, each piece must be scraped by hand or ripped off with a special machine; moreover, it is very expensive: in some cities, picking up gum from the ground costs more than twice its price on kiosks. And that every day thousands of gumballs are thrown in the streets also poses a health problem: it is estimated that in each there may be 50,000 pathogenic germs , and it is very difficult to prevent children and pets from having contact with them if they are on the ground.