The little packets that decorate cashier counters and catch your attention at the last minute as you unload your cart at a supermarket do much more than test your impulsive shopping; the reason they’re there is because you do, in fact, need a packet of chewing gum.
Perhaps pop culture has done some damage to the reputation of chewing gums, conjuring thoughts of loud chewers, rude delinquents and a ruined shoe heel. Some beauty magazines even claim it gives you wrinkles (but so does smiling, no?).
But societal perception aside, gum is actually a surprisingly healthy chew and it does more good than harm to your health, performance, life and even your mood!
1. It’s Good For Your Teeth
Chewing gum has a positive effect on dental hygiene, according to Worldental.org. Having one after a meal helps to stimulate saliva production and overall salivary flow, which washes away the acid responsible behind dental decay and bad breath, produced by bacteria in plaque.
2. It’s Good For Pressure
Chewing gum encourages jaw movement, which can help you relieve the pressure in your ears and even your sinuses. Keep a packet of gum handy the next time you board a flight… or enter a submarine (hey, you never know).
3. It’s A Good Stress Reliever
A study reported on Medical News Today has it that when chewing gum, participants reported lower levels of anxiety and produced lower stress levels. This was proved by the level of salivary cortisol (a physiological stress marker) of the gum chewers. So perhaps it’s not so bad if we let the “bad guys” chew gum after all – they’re just managing their temper.
4. It’s Good For Your Brain
Psychologists at St. Lawrence University have discovered that chewing gum boosts mental performance and enhances your memory. In the study, the group of students who were given gum to chew during a series of cognitive tests scored higher than the group that didn’t chew gum. It seems that chewing gum stimulates your hippocampus (yes – hippo and campus), the part of the brain which plays a large role in memory.
5. It’s Good for MacGyvers
Dried chewing gum has the consistency similar to ceramic, and when still moist, makes for a great substitute for glue. Fill cracks in clay flowerpots, piece together broken glass, paste paper together, stop a leaky radiator and remove light scratches from your DVD. According to How Stuff Works, the metal foil of your chewing gum can even temporarily fix a broken fuse in your car.
6. It’s Good For Weight Loss
We are not recommending chewing gum as an alternative for meals (that’s just bonkers), but what it can help to do is stave off your cravings for unhealthy snacks, especially when you don’t want to ruin your appetite as you’re nearing a meal. Having some gum still mimics the act of chewing and produces saliva, which will provide you with temporary relief.
7. It’s Good For Digestion
Better than digestive cookies, perhaps (well, it certainly is less fattening). Fitday states that chewing gum that contains xylitol (a natural sweetener) right before or after you finish eating helps your body to produce more saliva, leading to more acid build up in your stomach and aids with digestion. Of course, you don’t need extra acid in your system all the time – so don’t go chewing gum all day long!