There are a number of reasons people like chewing gum. While, some believe in helps with foul breath, others chew on it to stop their food cravings. Then there are some individuals who chew on gum because they treat it like a snack owing to its flavour. However, while it may seem like chewing gum is an innocuous food, be warned. There is enough evidence out there to prove that getting rid of the habit could be beneficial to your health. Some of the reasons surrounding the scepticism include the ingredients used that impact your digestion as well as your teeth. Here’s why chewing gum is actually bad for your health.

Increases your craving for junk food

While some people insist that chewing gum helps them reduce their food cravings, the statement is merely a myth. In fact, chewing gum has been found to increase one’s craving for junk food. While research points to the fact that it does reduce your hunger, the meals eaten by gum chewers are far from healthy. If you do not chew gum, you will most likely choose to eat fruits and vegetables as opposed to candy and potato chips. The mint flavour in chewing gum is also one of reasons gum chewers eat junk food, studies have found that the mint flavour tends to make vegetable and fruits taste bitter and therefore people avoid eating healthy.

Could damage the muscles of your jaw 

If you chew gum regularly, it could lead to an ailment that is caused due to the imbalance or misalignment of the jaw muscles – especially if you chew on one side more often than the other. When you overuse your muscles, it usually leads to contractions which then causes pain. Also known as  temporomandibular joint disorder , this condition could become chronic after a period of time.  Apart from that, toothaches, earaches and headaches occur as a result of chewing gum regularly.

Leads to gastrointestinal problems

When you chew gum, you naturally swallow excess air. This could lead bloating and abdominal pain causing irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Also, when you are in the process of chewing gum, your body receives a signal that food is just about to enter the body. Therefore, when you chew gum, acids and enzymes are released immediately without actually digesting any food. This could ultimately lead to bloating and acidity due to the overproduction of stomach acids. Chewing gum also has the ability to hamper the production of digestive secretions when you eat food. Also, some people tend to suffer from gastrointestinal symptoms like diarrhoea, as a result of ingesting artificial sweeteners found in gum.

Can damage your teeth

Chewing gum contains high amounts of sugar. Therefore, when you chew on it, you are literally coating your teeth with sugar. This eventually takes a toll on your teeth and can lead to its decay. Before you think of switching to sugar-free gum know that this is the case with them as well. This is because sugar-free gum is made up of acidic preservatives, flavouring and preservatives that will eventually erode your teeth. Therefore, over time, this could lead to the damage of your teeth.

Causes the release of mercury from dental fillings

Although metal dental fillings are not used anymore in the urban setting, if you have them, then it is best you stay away from chewing gum. That is because chewing gum could lead to the release of mercury from your tooth filling. Whenever you chew on gum, it releases mercury vapour which then makes its way into your blood stream, causing an oxidative processes in your tissues.

And lastly, chewing gum is made of a product called Lanolin or wool wax. A by-product from sheep’s wool, this product is added to chewing gum to help keep it soft. While, the substance might not pose direct danger to your health, it is not really appetizing to chew on.