Hate to burst your bubble, but yes, chewing gum is bad for your jaw health.
Cartilage in your jaw acts as a shock-absorber when you chew. This cartilage is put under further stress by chewing gum, and those who chew gum regularly are more likely to damage this cartilage. Once damaged, you can experience jaw pain for the rest of your life.
Facial muscles also tighten up as a result of chewing gum, and if overdone, you can experience long-lasting headaches as a result. This is due to chronic tightness developing in two facial muscles near your temples if you chew gum excessively.
Chewing gum often not only tires your jaw and muscles, but can lead to facial spasms. Oral surgeons at UT Southwestern Medical Center claim chewing gum can even lead to a condition known as temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ) syndrome. TMJ involves pain in both the head and neck, and makes opening and closing your jaw difficult.
The other issue with gum is the way it’s sweetened. If it is sugar based, it contributes to cavity formation. For artificially sweetened gum, many include aspartame, an ingredient that has been linked with cancer. The best choice for sugar-free gum is one that’s sweetened with Xylitol, a natural sweetener that promotes saliva production.
If you don’t have jaw or neck problems, chewing gum once in a while isn’t detrimental. But your jaw and body does pay a price for regular gum chewing, so exercise moderation.
Our full mouth rehabilitation procedure involves therapy for your temporomandibular joint to reduce pain. Contact us today for a consultation or appointment.