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You may want to take the gum out of your mouth when you are giving a big presentation at work, when you’re talking to your mother, or if you suffer from TMJ and feel jaw pain coming on – but besides these situations, is gum chewing a habit you should quit?

Reasons to quit chewing gum

Yes, if you have TMJ (temporomandibular joint disorder, which can cause headaches, muscle and ear aches, jaw aches, and muscle pain), chewing gum might not be a good idea. Chewing gum all the time can lead to developing TMJ, and it can also make TMJ worse, by tightening neck and facial muscles and overworking the jaw muscles. Research has also shown that, in people who are prone to tension headaches and migraines, constant gum chewing is linked to headaches.

Chewing gum with sugar in it is also a bad idea – after all, that means you are coating your teeth with sugar as you chew.

Reasons to keep chewing gum

If you are enjoying sugarless gum and it is not causing you headaches or TMJ pain, there are some reasons to keep chewing.

Studies show that chewing gum may help to improve memory and alertness and even reduce stress. Many people use gum to help them stop smoking and when they want to lose weight, because they feel like chewing gum can help to reduce those feelings of hunger.

Chewing gum that is sugar-free increases the amount of saliva in the mouth, which can help to wash debris and bacteria off of teeth. Minty gum can help to freshen breath, and gum that contains xylitol can help to prevent not only bad breath but tooth decay.

Chewing gum is a cheap, easy way to relieve some stress and even clean teeth. However, TMJ pain may cancel out any benefit that comes with gum chewing. If you are suffering from TMJ even when you don’t chew gum, contact Arlington Dental Aesthetics or South Riding Smiles for help. Call the Arlington office at (703) 214-3183 or the South Riding office at (703) 214-3185 for an appointment today!

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