Chewing Gum – Is It Good or Bad for You?
Love it or hate it, chewing gum is everywhere, and most of us have swallowed it at some point in our lives. The kind that our grandparents chewed is long gone, and most of the stuff that you can buy in stores today has tons of hidden ingredients to keep it tasting great longer. Although some of those ingredients will make it delicious to chew, there are a number of health risks that may be hiding in your latest pack. Read on to find out more information about what you’re really putting in your body, the effect that your gum consumption has on the environment, and alternative ways that you can make sure you always have fresh breath.
What does chewing gum do to your organs?
The chemical that makes your gum really white is dangerous for you to consume. Tiny particles of titanium dioxide are in your gum and give it its pleasant appearance, but nothing good comes of swallowing these nanoparticles. Once they’re in your body they can actually block cells in your small intestine. These cells then are unable to absorb nutrients that your body needs from the food that you eat. This, in turn, will slow your metabolism and can cause inflammation. Your body will lose its ability to protect itself against any pathogens that might attack. The microvilli that are in your small intestine play an important role in nutrient absorption, but when they are damaged by titanium dioxide they are unable to complete their role.
Are there any benefits to chewing gum?
There are a few benefits to chewing gum, but it’s up to each individual person to decide if they’re worth all of the health risks that come along with. For some people, chewing gum can help improve digestion and oral health. This is because you stimulate saliva glands when you chew gum. Saliva not only flushes food particles out of the mouth but also can prevent acid reflux due to increased swallowing. Another benefit is that gum can help people manage their weight. Instead of always snacking, chewing gum can help decrease the number of calories consumed during the day which, in turn, can help someone drop unwanted pounds. And finally, some people have found that they can control or even release stress when they chew gum. The physical action of it can release stress and calm the person.
What is gum made out of?
Each company has their own individual recipe for making their own brand of gum, but there are three main parts of gum that make up each recipe. These are elastomer (to keep the gum flexible), resin (the main chewable part of the gum), and wax (keeps the gum soft). In addition to these, chewing gum has sweeteners, flavors, colors, glycerine (to keep the gum moist), softeners (such as lanolin or stearic acid), and a coating to give harder gum it’s characteristic shell. Because gum has such a low moisture content and is non-reactive, it is considered to be shelf stable indefinitely. Although it may lose flavor or become hard, it is not required to have an expiration date as it will technically never go bad.
How long does it take to digest gum?
As children, most of us were regaled with tales of chewing gum lasting for years in the stomach if it was accidentally swallowed. Luckily, this is not true for the most part. It’s true that gum can’t be digested, but as long as it is a small enough piece to exit the stomach it will simply pass through the body and be excreted. The only problems arise when children swallow too much gum and it forms a mass in the stomach or they swallow gum with other items that also can’t be digested, such as coins or beads. In these cases it is possible for the gum and other items to form a bezoar in the stomach that will have to be medically removed.
What can gum do to the environment?
Unfortunately, the same science that keeps gum from dissolving when it’s being chewed is what also keeps it sticking around long after it has been discarded. Gum that’s dropped on the ground is costly and time-consuming to pick up. It bonds to shoe soles and to concrete and asphalt due to what it is made of. Steam jets are required to remove it, but this expense can be prohibitive. Remember: gum will stick around for a long time. If you’re going to chew it, make sure that you discard it in a trash can, not on the ground. Not only does it cause an eyesore, but animals can sometimes find it and try to eat it. While this may not seem like a big deal, there are reports of animals getting sick from the sweeteners that are commonly found in chewing gum.
What’s in store in the future?
Companies are working hard to try to create a gum that will have a longer lasting flavor. Since so many pieces lose their flavor quickly, they can really add up when thrown away or discarded. Other companies are trying to come up with sticks that will be bio-degradable after a certain amount of time. If they are able to do this it will certainly help with some of the environmental concerns.
Better ways to freshen your breath without consuming chemicals.
Luckily for those of us who want to avoid the chemicals that are present in gum, there are natural ways to freshen your breath. It is as simple as drinking enough water. Adding lemon to your water is a great way to use lemon’s natural cleaning power and scent to your advantage. If you’re struggling with fresh breath then try chewing on fresh parsley or oil pulling with coconut oil. Chewing parsley offers faster relief from bad breath, but oil pulling is a great routine to add to your day. It will increase saliva in your mouth and you’ll reap all of those benefits without having to touch a stick of gum.
If you’re in a pinch and really need to freshen your breath quickly, then try to reach for a natural brand of chewing gum. More and more companies are trying to come out with healthier alternatives to traditional chewing gum as people grow move concerned about what they’re putting in their bodies. It’s important to be aware of the chemicals in your gum and what they can do to your body. The natural alternatives available are much healthier for you than gum is. Chewing parsley isn’t as crazy as it sounds and can really help with bad breath. The next time you’re at the store, instead of picking up some gum at the checkout counter, grab a bunch of parsley in the produce section. Not only will your breath thank you, but the rest of your body will as well.