Though our mums tried to stop us from picking up this habit, many of us can’t stop chewing gums when we are bored.
While many perceive chewing gum as a habit that depicts promiscuity, recklessness and disobedience, chewing gum is a common habit that many people cannot resist. Those in this category believe that it helps them to stay awake during long meetings, just as it freshen their breath.
The jury is still out on the rights and wrongs of chewing this popular candy.
However, new studies suggest that chewing gums may not be so bad, after all, for adults.
If you are in the habit of popping gum in your mouth after a meal or when you are bored, then you may be glad to know that the health benefits of chewing gum goes beyond keeping you awake when you are reading, writing or working.
Scientists say that chewing gum helps you to learn. Psychologists from the University of Northumbria, United Kingdom, found that people who chewed gum throughout produced significantly better scores than people those who did not.
The lead author of the study, Andrew Scholey, states that the gum-chewers’ scores were 24 per cent higher than those that did not on tests of immediate word recall, and 36 per cent higher on tests of delayed word recall.
They were also more accurate on tests of spatial working memory.
He says, “These results provide the first evidence that chewing gum can improve long-term and working memory. There are a number of potential explanations – but they are all very speculative.”
Still on how chewing gum boosts one’s ability to retain information, in March 2000, Japanese researchers showed that brain activity in the hippocampus, an area important for memory, increases while people chew.
Scholey adds, “One interesting thing we saw in our study was that chewing increased heart rate. Anything that improves delivery of things like oxygen in the brain, such as an increased heart rate, is a potential cognitive enhancer to some degree.”
The scientists recommend that people should chew gum while multi-tasking or preparing for a big day to relieve stress and tension.
A research conducted on students who chew gum during exams shows that they tend to be more alert and focused.
A 40-person study of gum chewers showed a reduction in anxiety as compared to non-gum chewers by nearly 17 per cent during mild stress and nearly 10 per cent in moderate stress.
Also, participants experienced greater levels of alertness when they chewed gum.
Gum chewers showed improvement in alertness over non-gum chewers by nearly 19 per cent during mild stress and eight per cent in moderate stress.
So, whenever you feel irritated or frustrated, you might find that chewing gum can help you to relax.
If you are currently trying to lose weight, chewing gum can also prove to be beneficial for you.
Nutritionists have maintained over the years that chewing gum curbs appetites and food cravings. So, the next time you crave a snack or a second helping of fried rice and chicken, pop a stick of gum in your mouth instead.
Contrary to what we were told and taught, chewing gum only causes does tooth aches or gum diseases when it is loaded with sugar.
A dentist, Dr. Chuks Madueke, says if one is suffering from oral health problems like halitosis (bad breath) or gum infection, one might want to chew some gum to relieve these symptoms.
He says, “When you chew gum, your saliva production is also stimulated. Saliva has antibacterial properties that help to flush out food debris, remaining sugars and other harmful acids in your mouth.
“We will recommend that the gum is sugar-free, as it has been found to be effective in protecting the enamel of the teeth. In fact, chewing on some sugar-free gum after meals can lessen tooth cavities.”
Adolescents may want to take it easy on chewing gum. Experts have fingered chewing gum as a cause of migraine in teenagers.
The findings published in Paediatrics Neurology showed that 26 out of 30 patients with migraine, who stopped chewing gum had significant improvement, and 19 had complete headache resolution. When 20 of the improved patients stopped chewing gum again, all of them reported an immediate relapse of symptoms.