Surprising Benefits of Chewing Gum

You do it mindlessly, but this little action has a host of benefits.

 Woman putting a piece of gum into her mouth. What are the surprising benefits of chewing gum?

A piece of gum can make or break a kiss, save you from offending a co-worker with your post-lunch breath, or give you that little refresher your mouth needs. But did you also know chewing gum has loads of health benefits? Here are some of the perks:

Related: 7 Surprising Ways to Become a More Creative Person

Slim your waistline

According to a study by the University of Liverpool, chewing gum can slightly curb your cravings, which may help you make better eating choices. On average, the gum chewers in the study ate 36 fewer calories than those who didn’t chew gum. That doesn’t sound all that impressive, but if you cut 36 calories out of your diet every day, it adds up.

Burn calories just by chewing

Sure, you only burn 11 calories an hour from chewing a stick of gum, but times that by several hours, and you may be shaving an extra 50 plus calories from your day.

Related: 5 Ways to Cut Back On Added Sugar

Keep your teeth healthy

As long as it’s sugarless, chewing gum for 20 minutes after you eat can help protect your teeth by removing food debris and increasing your saliva flow. Your saliva strengthens your tooth enamel because it carries phosphate and calcium. 

The American Dental Association actually recommends chewing gum to prevent cavities.

Improve memory

When you chew gum, it increases blood flow to your brain. This has a lot of positive effects including improving your memory. In his research, professor Andrew Sholey discovered your short-term memory could be improved 35 percent by chewing a stick of gum. But be cautious: chewing on it for too long can decrease your short-term memory.

Fight drowsiness

If you struggle to stay alert at work, chewing gum could be the simple solution you’re looking for. One study revealed chewing gum can fight sleepiness. Anything mint flavored is the most effective gum to battle midday yawns.

Reduce heartburn

Following up a meal with a stick of gum can lower the acid levels in your esophagus. This may help reduce acid reflux and heartburn.

Lessen depression

Chewing gum twice daily for two weeks reduced anxiety, depression, fatigue, and other mental illnesses in patients during a 2011 study.

Eliminate nausea

Sugarless mint or ginger gums of all kinds can soothe an upset stomach, whether it’s morning sickness or motion sickness. Mint and ginger are natural remedies for nausea. If you’re looking for little ways to improve your health, try chewing a stick of gum rather than reaching for a dessert. You’ll thank yourself later.  

Be sure to check out other Healthy Living articles.

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