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Truth Behind My Smile

Is chewing gum dumb?

March 12, 2010

Our Neolithic ancestors did it, it was around in Aztec times and Ancient Greece and American Indians had it too….chewing gum has come a long way from tree bark to the latest variants that claim to whiten teeth and increase energy levels.

Since its modern invention in the 1860’s chewing gum has been the subject of debate, myth, anger and a whole lot of street cleaning. From the ridiculous (chewing gum can enhance breast size) to the tragic (a Ukranian chemistry student was killed by exploding chewing gum); it’s clearly a habit loved by millions and hated by many more.

As ever, this blog has gone in search of the truth behind the headlines and lays out the facts so you can decide:

Most chewing gum is sweetened with aspartame, excessive amounts of this artificial sweetener are linked to cancer and diabetes.

The action of chewing gum can cause wear and tear of the cartilage in your jaw – once worn this can cause pain and discomfort that will last a lifetime.

The act of chewing sends a signal to your stomach to produce acid so it is ready to digest the food it thinks will be shortly arriving in your tum. Too much stomach acid is uncomfortable and in extreme cases will cause ulcers.

According to the Chewing Gum Action Group the average cost to clean up chewing gum in public is 10p per piece, yet it costs only 3p per piece to manufacture. In January of this year proposals to impose a ‘litter tax’ were raised in parliament, putting chewing gum in the same ‘sin bin’ as fast food litter and graffiti.

So far chewing gum isn’t selling itself to me very well, but in the interests of being a balanced blogger, what’s the upside?

Gum manufacturers and the Dental Health Organisation claim that chewing sugar free gum after meals means you produce more saliva which counteracts the acid produced by food remnants and so helps to prevent tooth decay. And there are also claims that chewing helps with stress management, concentration, short term memory and smoking cessation, and to be fair Wrigleys has gone a long way to show evidence of these claims on their website. Equally, the US Military have always supplied gum to their troops claiming it helps with stress and concentration, but I can’t help but feel cynical about this! An easier one to believe is that chewing gum freshens breath and I am sure many thousands will testify as to the help chewing nicotine gum has given them in the fight against smoking.

Now that we have covered the pro’s and cons of chewing….let’s cut back to the real news here…a chewing gum to enhance breast size? In Japan, gum manufacturer B2UP has launched its Bust-Up Gum which contains a plant extract called Pueraria mirifica. This botanical has long been used in traditional medicine as it mimics the effects of the female sex hormone oestrogen. Research tests carried out by Chulalongkorn University in Thailand found Pueraria mirifica therapy was able to enhance breast size by 80%…..however because the gum isn’t available in the UK we have been unable to carry out our own research……happy chewing.

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