By: Mary McCandless
As kids, many of us always enjoyed gum, especially Bubble Gum. It allowed us to make huge bubbles and to have the pop all over our face. It was fun to see how much gum you could put into your mouth to make the largest bubble, and when it was all done you would swallow it. I could remember being told that if you swallow your gum, it will stick to your ribs. Today we know that it is not true. If you swallow your gum, it may in rare cases block your intestines, however, most times you will pass it.
Many people chew gum for tons of reasons. Some chew for the sheer pleasure or taste, to have it to substitute eating or smoking or just calm their nerves. I can remember my mom telling me not to talk while chewing, no gum when company is over and no gum in school or at work. I always wondered why and even asked her, she said, “It is not polite and first impressions are everything.” Chewing gum can have a calming effect and with all the varieties that are now out there you can ever buy gum to get rid of “Potty Mouth” as one gum (Orbits) company promotes.
Enough said! I wanted to know when people decided to start chewing gum. According to Wrigley.com, and History.com, It turns out that the Ancient Greeks some 6,000 years ago started chewing mastic gum. Mastic is a tree found in Greece and Turkey, and the resin was taken from the bark. Women liked chewing it for fresh breath and to clean their teeth. From the Greeks to the Mayans, sap was a source of gum and the American Indians passed their habits to early settlers by introducing them to sap from spruce trees. It wasn’t until the mid 1800’s that John B. Curtis made and sold the first commercial chewing gum. Then in the 1890s, William Wrigley Jr. launched his chewing gum Juicy Fruit and Spearmint Gum.
Today, there are tons of chewing gum companies with every flavor you can think of on the market. I think of it as a flavor for everyone. Now, with all of this chewing going on is it healthy to chew gum.? Let’s face it. It does take effort to chew, and chew and chew. So, I asked local dentist Dr. Susan B. Dunn, DDS of Smiles by Design in Liverpool and here is her take. You are either a gum chewer, or you are not…simple!
Thinking positively — if you are going to chew gum, always chew sugar-free gum, so as not to be bathing your teeth throughout the day with sugar that can cause cavities. You should also chew gum that has xylitol. Xylitol is a natural sweetener derived from plant fibers that does not break down like sugar and can help keep a neutral pH level in the mouth. Xylitol also prevents bacteria from sticking to the teeth so it can protect the teeth from tooth decay.
Chewing gum might be helpful for people with “dry mouth” problems to stimulate saliva flow. It could also help some people with relieving a stressful situation and is certainly better for you than chewing on your fingernails or chewing on pencils.
On the negative side, if you tend to have TMJ (Temporal Mandibular Joint) problems, or if you are a clencher / grinder, you shouldn’t chew gum because it can aggravate the jaw muscles and become painful.
From a professional standpoint, gum chewing is never appropriate in any business setting, especially when dealing with the public. If you’re going to chew gum, the best time is in your car, at home, while reading, or anytime you’re not carrying on a conversation with others on the phone or in person.
Learn more visit smilesbd.com, or call them at 315-474-1711