Of Chewing Gum

Not to worry, i’m not about to talk about those annoying ladies and young girls who chew gum like they belong to the Ruminant family. i’m not even going to talk about those that blow it up into a balloon even in public. i secretly wish that bursts into an ԑye. Or both eyes! Clinging to an eyelash is just not enough.

i want to talk about the positives and negatives of Chewing gum.
Its a rather long read, don’t stop at the positives for the negatives are right after.

Up until World War II, chewing gum was made of a substance called chicle mixed with flavorings. Chicle is a latex sap that comes from the sapodilla tree (native to Central America). In other words, chicle is a form of rubber. Just like rubber bands don’t dissolve when you chew them, neither does chicle. Chicle is softer than rubber bands and happens to soften more when it gets warm in your mouth. If you freeze chicle with ice, it gets very stiff — chicle hardens and softens over a pretty narrow temperature range.

After the war, chemists learned how to make artificial gum bases to replace chicle. These gum bases are essentially synthetic rubbers that have the same temperature profile as chicle. Gum bases (either natural or artificial) are mixed with sugar and other flavorings to make chewing gum. When you chew it, the rubber releases these flavorings into your mouth.

The chewing gum is made of a “gum base” with addition of flavors, sweeteners, softeners and sometimes food colors. Gum base is what puts the “chew” in gum, allowing it to be chewed. Gum base is formed from natural resins like sorva and jelutong. Natural gum bases include latexes like chicle, jelutong, gutta-percha, rosin, etc. Old gum bases were based on latexes, vegetable gums like chicle, spruce gum, or mastic gum. Alternative choices were waxes, paraffin wax and beeswax. Modern chewing gum bases use minimal natural rubber or no natural rubber at all. Natural latex is being replaced by synthetic substitutes. That means that most of the time, these substitutes are not naturally found in nature. Synthetic rubbers are butadiene-styrene rubber, polyethylene, and polyvinyl acetate, etc.

Today most companies use synthetic gum base materials which allow for longer-lasting flavor, improved texture and reduced tackiness.

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.
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? The most common reason are; bad breathe prevention, stress release, weight management, increases concentration and even alertness.

Chewing sugar-free gum after meals has proven benefits for oral health. More than 20 years of research, supported by expert reviews and statements from authoritative bodies, highlights that when you chew sugar-free gum you can help protect your teeth.

According to research, chewing sugar-free gum helps to protect your teeth by:
*Stimulating flow of saliva in the mouth 

*Cleaning the mouth of food debris 

*Relieving dry mouth discomfort 

*Neutralizing plaque acids that form in the mouth after eating fermentable carbohydrates 

*Helping to remineralize enamel to strengthen teeth 

*Helping to reduce plaque 

*Helping to whiten teeth by reducing and preventing stains 

CHEWING GUM AND SALIVA

Chewing gum stimulates one of the most powerful defense mechanisms in the body – saliva – and saliva is vital to good oral health.

Saliva has three main protective functions:
*the water dilutes and washes away food debris;

*the bicarbonate neutralizes and buffers plaque acids; and

*the calcium and phosphate ions contribute to remineralization of early dental caries lesions.

*It also contains antibacterial agents.

Saliva alone is a powerful protector of the oral cavity, and chewing gum is an efficient and pleasant way to increase saliva without drugs. Increasing saliva in the mouth is accomplished by the stimulation of flavors and the gustatory action of chewing. Together these forces stimulate the salivary glands to increase their flow rate by about 10 times the resting state during the first few minutes of chewing and keep it significantly elevated for as long as one chews.

It’s a habit that divides opinion, but new scientific evidence reveals that chewing gum is actually good for the brain.

Chomping away boosts thinking and alertness and the study reveals reaction times among chewers are up to 10 per cent faster.

DANGERS OF CHEWING GUM

Our bodies were never designed to be constantly chewing (wen u nor be Cow). 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 tract 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).

Have you heard that if you swallow your gum, it will stay in your stomach for seven years? If gum stayed in your stomach, it would dissolve in the highly acidic environment (pH 1-3) long before the seven years had passed. Gum doesn’t stay in your stomach, but continues on into your intestines, eventually finding its way out of your system in pretty much the same condition as when you swallowed it. You can’t digest rubber!

CHEWING GUM FOR WEIGHT LOSS

There is even some research bearing this out. However, if you’re currently looking to lose a few (or a few hundred) pounds, relying on a pack of gum is not likely to be a winning strategy, as the latest research suggests it has little impact on your weight.

CHEWING GUM DOES NOT REDUCE HUNGER OR FOOD INTAKE

A new series of studies set out to determine whether chewing gum actually reduces your motivation to eat, your hunger and how much you end up eating. One of the studies revealed that while those who chewed gum consumed fewer meals, they ate more at the meals they did consume. Further, their meals ended up being less nutritious than those eaten by non-gum-chewers.

The second study found that people who chewed gum were less likely to eat fruit and instead were more motivated to eat junk food like potato chips and candy. This is likely because the minty flavor in the gum makes fruits and vegetables taste bitter. Researchers concluded.

“These studies provide no evidence that acute or chronic gum chewing reduces hunger or energy intake. In fact, chewing mint-flavored gum may deter consumption of fruit and reduce diet quality.”

WHY GUM MAY BE BAD FOR YOUR DIGESTION

Your body was designed to activate digestion through chewing. A carefully coordinated neurological reflex activates the production of enzymes when you move your jaw in a chewing motion.

However, chewing without eating food can be counterproductive. When you chew gum, you send your body physical signals that food is about to enter your body. The enzymes and acids that are activated when you chew gum are therefore released, but without the food they’re intended to digest.

This can cause bloating, an overproduction of stomach acid, and can compromise your ability to produce sufficient digestive secretions when you actually do eat food. Besides this, chewing gum can cause jaw muscle imbalance (if you chew on one side more than the other) and even TMJ or temporomandibular joint disorder in your jaw, which can be a painful chronic condition.

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.

Oh yes, not forgetting the annoying sounds ladies make when they chew gum.

Though, there are some good sides to gum chewing, seeing the bad sides, i think the bottom line is, you shouldn’t chew gum! Or what’s your take?

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