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3. The Artificial Sweetener Factor
Many people believe that the ingredients in their gum don’t really matter because they don’t swallow it, but nothing could be further from the truth. These ingredients are absorbed directly into your body through the lining of your mouth and go into the bloodstream in a matter of minutes. In some ways, chewing gum is worse because at least if you swallowed some of these ingredients the acid in your stomach would help to kill or filter some of these things but with chewing gum, everything is going right into your blood.
One of the main chemicals you are absorbing are the artificial sweeteners in most gums. The most common one being aspartame. Once metabolized in your body, it changes into formaldehyde (yeah, the same stuff they use to embalm people) and wood alcohol (which is poisonous in sufficient quantities). Aspartame is not filtered out of your body like other toxins and has been linked to numerous health problems including brain tumors, cancer, birth defects, and weight gain.
Sucralose (Splenda) is another common sweetener. This chemical sweetener was approved by the FDA after only two studies, one of which was a mere 4 days in duration! The FDA did not seem to care that studies on animals showed that this toxic chemical was linked to decreased red blood cells, enlarged kidneys, male infertility, spontaneous abortions, and a much higher death rate.
Although sugar is also bad for your body, it’s certainly preferable to these killer artificial sweeteners! If you absolutely must chew gum, stick with the kind that contains natural cane sugar and be certain to brush your teeth afterwards.
4. It Can Trigger TMJ
Constant chewing can cause an imbalance in the muscles of the jaw, especially if you tend to chew more on one side of your mouth than the other. This can lead to a serious jaw problem called temporomandibular joint disorder, or TMJ. This is a terribly painful and chronic condition for which there is very little that can be done other than to be fitted with an appliance you must wear every night so that you don’t grind your teeth together due to muscle spasms. Those appliances look something like braces that hold your mouth open while you sleep. Sexy, right?
Especially for teenagers, chewing gum often leads to chronic headaches, although it can happen to adults as well.
A study that used 30 daily gum chewers between the ages of 6 and 19 and measured the amount of headaches they felt during a 30 day period. The subjects were then instructed to stop chewing gum during the following month. 19 of the 30 subjects had their headaches disappear entirely, while another 7 had a drastic reduction in the frequency and severity of their headaches. Twenty six of these subjects returned to daily gum chewing and all stated that their headaches returned immediately. Scientists believe these headaches could be caused by a type of gum-induced TMJ or a tightening of the muscles in the head, neck, and jaw. It was also speculated that some of these headaches were due to the artificial sweeteners or other chemicals found in most chewing gum.
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