Though it’s hard to imagine, chewing gum is one of the oldest candies in the world! For thousands of years, people of all cultures have enjoyed chewing gum without realizing the dangers that can occur to their bodies, especially with gums containing artificial flavoring.
History of Chewing Gum
Many years ago, archaeologists made a surprising discovery! It seems prehistoric men and women chewed on lumps of tree resin for pure enjoyment, making them the first-ever gum chewers in recorded history. The study of man has also found that almost every culture chomped “gum.” Ancient Greeks routinely gnawed on tree resin to clean their teeth and freshen their breath, and called their treat “mastiche.” Indians chewed on the sap from trees. The Maya Indians of Central America gummed chicle. Early settlers bit into hardened tree sap and beeswax.
Everyday, we can see people chewing gum, but why do people chew gum? So I decided to find out why and to perform an independent study on whether there are any benefits or dangers. After polling hundreds of people, the most common reason are the following; bad breathe prevention, stress release, weight management, increases concentration and even alertness. When I reviewed their answers, it was clear to me that people were trying to out smart Mother Nature… but at what cost?
Chewing Gum Dangers
Our bodies were never designed to be constantly chewing and there are significant neurological mechanisms in the chewing process. When you chew, your brain thinks it is going to get food and secretes digestive enzymes, such as Amylase in the mouth to break down carbohydrates. This is the first stage of digestion. It then signals the gastrointestinal track and pancreas to secrete more enzymes, such as Protease and Lipase in preparation for what it believes to be food coming down that needs to be digested. This is the normal process by which protein and fat are broken down. This unnatural process can cause bloating.
Hormone imbalances occur, due to our digestive system being controlled and regulated by our autonomic nervous system, such as insulin and cortisol being secreted. The stomach then starts producing Hydrochloric Acid. This can’t be used and can create potential digestive dysfunction, such as Acid Reflux Ulcers and Bruxism (teeth grinding and clinching).
Biomechanical imbalances like forward head posture, which is a result of excessive chewing can strain the cervical vertebrae causing the thoracic and lumbar vertebrae to compensate, making one hip or shoulder lower than the other. TMJ can also occur as well as headaches and since most people chew on one side, asymmetry faces. Gums containing artificial flavoring and other toxic chemicals can lead to a long list of adverse consequences. *The bottom line is, you shouldn’t chew gum!*