Advantages and Disadvantages of chewing gum
Chewing gum is a soft and rubbery substance. It's meant to be chewed but not swallowed.
Although brands may have different recipes, all chewing gums share the same basic ingredients, which are as follows-
Chewable gum manufacturers tend to keep their secret recipes under wraps. Their "gum base" is often referred to as the combination of resin, softeners, and antioxidants.
All ingredients used to make chewing gum must be food-grade and deemed safe for human consumption.
What ingredients are there in chewing gum? Are they safe?
In general, chewing gum is considered safe.
Certain kinds of chewing gums contain some small quantities of ingredients that have been deemed controversial.
Even in these situations, the amount is usually considerably less than the amount that is believed to cause harm.
1. Butylated Hydroxytoluene (BHT)
BHT can be described as an antioxidant used in many processed foods to act as a preservative. It prevents food from spoiling by preventing fats from turning rancid.
The use of this substance is controversial because some studies on animals suggest that large doses could cause cancer. However, there are mixed results, and some studies haven't discovered this effect.
In general, there are small human studies, which means the effects of BHT on humans are not well-known.
However, there was a Dutch study conducted in 2000 that looked into the link between BHT and stomach cancer. It was discovered that women and men who consume BHT in regular amounts were at no increased risk.
Each of the FDA, as well as the EFSA, has found that BHT is generally considered safe at small doses of 0.11 mg/pound of body mass (0.25 mg per kilogram).
It appears that the vast majority of people consume less than the recommended amount. A study that examined samples of urine from several countries found that the median per day intake of BHT by adults was 0.21-31.3 micrograms per kilogram of weight.
2. Titanium dioxide
The titanium dioxide ingredient is a commonly used food additive that is used to lighten products and create an even texture.
Certain animal studies from the past have found evidence of very high levels of titanium dioxide causing damage to nervous systems. It has also been linked to damage to organs in rodents.
Inflammation, oxidative stress, and cancer were also discovered in studies that used rats and treated them with titanium dioxide. Researchers are still trying to establish the amount of titanium dioxide that could be dangerous to humans.
Presently, the amount and kind of titanium dioxide that people are exposed to through food is generally considered to be safe. However, further research is required to establish the appropriate intake limits.
Aspartame is a sweetener made from artificial ingredients often found in sugar-free food items.
It's a hot topic and is said to be the cause of a myriad of ailments, from obesity to headaches to cancer.
Animal studies have shown that aspartame is a carcinogenic chemical in rodents. It has also been found that prenatal exposure to aspartame may increase the risk of developing cancer among rodent offspring.
But, the connection between obesity and aspartame has to be studied further.
Based on the FDA, consumption of aspartame within the recommended daily intake isn't considered to cause harm.
However, those who suffer from a rare hereditary disorder known as phenylketonuria need to be cautious about consuming the chemical phenylalanine. It is an ingredient in aspartame.
Advantages of chewing gum
1. It may help in addressing bad breath issues
Chewing gum creates additional saliva in the mouth. The saliva helps decrease the number of bacteria within the mouth. That's why people who chew gum usually have more pleasant breaths than ones who don't chew gum. It's not just about the flavor profile or sugar content of the gum you're inhaling. Due to the reduction in bacteria, chewing gum actually alters the composition of one's breath.
2. It can be helpful for heartburn problems
The extra saliva created through chewing gum also has another advantage. After swallowing, the saliva is used to help balance the stomach's acidity levels. It also assists in pushing acid into the stomach once it begins to leak out, which prevents heartburn from occurring. If a person chews gum for around 30 minutes, as long as 3 hours, relief from heartburn is possible. Try chewing sugar-free gum to get the most benefits.
3. It may aid in weight loss
Boredom is among the main reasons for obesity. When people feel bored, they can solve their boredom by chewing something. The act of chewing acts as a relaxation mechanism. Chewing gum may mimic the chewing process that food consumption requires, which can lessen the desire to snack or eat unhealthy amounts for certain people. Chewing gum is also believed to its ability to curb hunger and can reduce appetite. Reduction in appetite means that people will eat less food than usual and, consequently, gain less amount of weight. It is interesting how a connection is established between chewing gum and weight loss.
4. It may help to prevent tooth decay
Xylitol is one type of sugarless gum. This sweetener is often used by dentists to make lollipops, chewing gum, and hard candy. This is because Xylitol has been shown to slow down the growth of a particular bacteria in the mouth, which is a direct cause of cavities. Xylitol prevents bacteria from sticking to your enamel by chewing gum that contains it. Your teeth's mineral health may be given an additional boost if the gum contains calcium lactate. But for preventing tooth decay, the gum should have the specific ingredients mentioned above and should be low in sugar. Gums that are high in sugar content lead to tooth decay rather than preventing it.
5. It's very affordable
A standard pack of chewing gum costs about $1. Some chewing gums can be purchased for as little as $0.05 per piece. This makes chewing gum a great way to enjoy the many benefits it offers. The average American chews approximately 170 sticks per year of gum. This means that less than $10 per person is spent on this potentially useful product. This pricing applies to even health-specific gums, such as those that are dairy-free or gluten-free.
6. It can improve productivity
Chewing gum can help you keep your mind on the task at hand. Chewing gum reduces distractions, especially for students. It enables the person to focus on the important task only. It can help students retain information, improve short-term memory, and the time to recall, and even reduce potential anxiety or stress that a student may be feeling. Sugar-free gum can even stimulate brain activity.
7. It's fun
There are many health benefits to chewing gum, but none are as important as the fun it brings. Chew gum can make people feel happy. It can be fun to blow bubbles with the gum. Chew gum is an inexpensive form of entertainment that can be enjoyed for as little as a nickel. Also, it is widely available and comes in a variety of flavors. You can choose depending on your taste and mood.
Disadvantages of chewing gum
Chewing gum also has several disadvantages. Some of them are mentioned below-
1. This can cause tooth decay
High sugar levels are common in chewing gums. Although the extra saliva constantly works to reduce the number of bacteria in the mouth, sugared gum can stimulate bacterial growth around your teeth and gums. Too much sugar can cause oral health issues, premature tooth decay, and gum disease. Chewing gum can cause tooth damage to those with weaker or failing teeth. It can lead to a tooth cavity wherein your tooth turns brown as its layers get eroded by bacterial action. You may have to get surgeries done or, worse, wear artificial teeth.
2. Some people may bite their tongues while chewing gum
Almost everyone has bitten their tongue. It can be very painful. However, repeated tongue biting can cause tissue changes. Tissue damage can be caused by any bite. Repetitive trauma can cause pigmentation issues or keratinization. People who chew gum repetitively see white tissue appearing on their tongues, especially along the sides.
3. It can cause bloating
Chewing gum can also lead to bloating issues in some people. Because you chew the gum, your saliva is being swallowed more than you think. Air is also being swallowed. The air enters your digestive tract, where it interacts with bacteria. Stomach distension can occur if too much air is swallowed. It can even cause pain. To limit air intake, people who frequently chew gum should try eating a high-fiber snack or sucking on a piece of candy.
4. It can lead to higher levels of sugar and alcohol
Artificial sweeteners are often added to chewing gums in order to reduce sugar exposure and tooth decay risk. Too many sugar-free foods can cause stomach discomfort. For the average person, consuming just 2-3 artificially-sweetened products, or chewing 2-3 servings of sugar-free gum, can be enough to trigger bothersome symptoms.
5. It may cause irritation in certain medical conditions
The most frequent irritation caused by chewing gum can be in Temporo Mandibular Joint Syndrome, also known as TMJ. This condition can cause pain and pops in the jaw when it's moved. The problem is usually caused by repeated jaw movements, for example, grinding your teeth in the evening. If you have a habitual practice of chewing gum throughout the day, enough damage may result in TMJ. For those suffering from TMJ, chewing gum may cause irritation to the jaw.
6. It can cause a loosening of the dental work
Chewing gum can become sticky after chewing it for a while. This sticky sensation can help get rid of some bacteria around the gum line and teeth. It also has the potential to have an effect on dental procedures that you might have undergone. Chewing gum can loosen crowns, fillings, and bridges. In the case of the health of your gums and teeth, it could even take out some fillings and crowns. If you aren't sure about the condition of your oral health, it is advisable to discuss your condition and doubts related to chewing gum with your dental professional in order to obtain their advice on the issue.
7. It causes a lot of litter
Around 90% of chewing gums are not properly disposed of after chewing them. Other than cigarette butts, chewing gum is the second most frequent type of litter around the globe today. Even the removal and recycling of gum packaging can be an expensive affair costing annually over 2 million dollars in the United States. Modern chewing gum is not able to biodegrade, as it is manufactured out of synthetic plastics. We produce around 250,000 tonnes of garbage every year as a result of our habit of chewing gum.
8. It can disrupt the social setting
One of the most significant problems when chewing gum is the fact it is an annoying habit. Employees or students who distribute a pack of gum can be equally disoriented when relative to other distractions within their surroundings. The different sounds of chewing gum can also create noise pollution that could be distracting for some students. Overall, chewing gum is not considered appropriate in educational and workplace settings.
Side Effects of chewing gum
The benefits and disadvantages of chewing gum demonstrate that it is healthy and beneficial but can be a source of annoyance and distraction at the same time. As with all other habits, chewing gum should also be in moderate amounts to lower the chance of suffering from uncomfortable symptoms and signs. People have chewed gum for many, many years. Although it's not a substitute for flossing, brushing your teeth, and other daily hygiene habits, chewing gum can assist you in having a happier and healthier mouth.