Healthy Chewing Gum Alternative

by Sarah TheHealthyHomeEconomist January 15, 2013

healthy chewing gum

When I was a kid, I loved to chew bubble gum. I remember becoming quite proficient at blowing very large bubbles at summer camp one year.  From then on, chewing bubble gum became a favorite childhood pastime of mine.

While chewing gum once in awhile is certainly not a cause for concern, chewing gum every single day as a habit definitely can be detrimental to health.  As I covered in detail in a previous post The Sticky Truth about Chewing Gum, habitual gum chewing wastes valuable digestive enzymes and can contribute over time to TMJ and other jaw problems among other issues.

Fortunately, there is a very healthy chewing gum alternative to brands laced with aspartame or GMO sugar.

Even xylitol gum should be avoided on a regular basis as xylitol is produced by the heavily industrial process called sugar hydrogenation, the long term health effects of which are unknown. Xylitol also contributes to gut imbalance/candida problems, exacerbates acid reflux, and can trigger seizures in susceptible individuals.

In addition, oral surgeons at UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas contend that too much gum chewing causes jaw stress.  Dr. Sinn, a UT Southwestern oral surgeon, warns that jaw soreness, jaw “clicking” or pain in the jaw, head, or neck can be signs of TMJ syndrome and that gum chewing should be discontinued should such symptoms emerge.

Given that gum chewing is commonly used to relieve stress, Dr. Sinn suggests other methods for reducing tension such as squeezing a ball, relaxation techniques or regular exercise to avoid the risk of chronic jaw problems.

Probably the most important reason to abstain from chewing commercially made gum is that it releases mercury from dental amalgam fillings.  A Swedish study found that people with silver fillings who chew gum for 5 hours or more each day had significantly higher levels of mercury in their blood and urine than those people with silver fillings who chewed gum infrequently.

Mercury levels in the blood, urine, and breath at exhalation increased in proportion to the number of silver fillings each study participant had.

So what to chew?

In this video, I show you a healthy chewing gum alternative that we use in our home when we just want something sweet and tasty to chomp on  - honeycomb!

Have you tried chewing honeycomb before?  If not, check out the honeycomb we like to chew as I describe the benefits you get from enjoying this age old practice.  Chewing a piece of honeycomb is not only healthy, but it is good for you too because the chewing doesn’t last too long, it adds enzymes to the digestion rather than removing them and is safe for those with amalgams.

Honeycomb:  Healthy Chewing Gum Alternative

Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist

Picture Credit

 

Comments (44)

  1. Brandi Shaw via Facebook August 6, 2014 at 3:26 pm

    I dont chew gum, thank goodness, i have amalgam sealants so there’s less of it than in a true filling.

    Reply
  2. Stopped when my doc said chewing gum is basically tricking your body that food is coming (w/chewing, salivating, swallowing). The stomach acid & enzymes flow to aid digestion, except there is nothing to digest, leaving some with GI symptoms.

    Reply
  3. Juliana Oushana via Facebook August 6, 2014 at 10:25 am

    Just came back from Greece, this is what a server from our hotel gave my kids. Old news in Europe, I think. Cool stuff. Thanks for posting.

    Reply
  4. I have a question about Xylitol maybe you can answer. I have read about the benefits of xylitol for dental health but have also read about the health risks involved with internally ingesting it. The question is:
    I have been using it to make homemade toothpaste and have an 8 yr old son. I am wondering if I should find a different recipe for my toothpaste? Any suggestions? I have tried putting baking soda in the toothpaste but he refuses to use it. I use coconut oil, xylitol, a small amount of Diatomaceous earth and some essential oil for “flavoring”. He refuses the store bought brands with other sweeteners and I feel like I have tried them all (from orange, mint, clove, fennel) without success . I feel defeated because the more I try to make things healthy for my family the more info I learn about the ingredients and then feel hopeless in finding something that is REALLY healthy,and beneficial, as well as practical, at the same time.
    Any input would be appreciated. Thanks

    Reply
  5. For those of you looking for a fresher-tasting version, chew fresh whole mint leaves! you do have to spit them out after a while and (check your teeth in the mirror for any green left behind,) but it is really a great alternative. I did it all the time as a kid!

    Reply
  6. Jennifer @ 20 something allergies and counting...down January 25, 2013 at 10:37 pm

    Sarah, you’re a genius!

    My daughter is 4.5 years old and is just getting interested in gum. We are well into healing her cavities (caused by early allergies + organic, gluten-free SAD diet) and have always steered a wide path around conventional sweets. I told her today that we’d look into making gum for her to try, but I wasn’t looking forward to that experiment. Enter honeycomb! I can’t wait to hit the farmers’ market tomorrow.

    Thanks mama.
    Jennifer @ 20 something allergies and counting…down\’s last post: Shepherd’s Pie Recipe (dairy-, grain-, and gluten-free)

    Reply
  7. Jennifer @ 20 something allergies and counting...down January 25, 2013 at 10:36 pm

    Sarah, you’re a genius!

    My daughter is 4.5 years old and is just getting interested in gum. We are well into healing her cavities (caused by early allergies + organic, gluten-free SAD diet) and have always steered a wide path around conventional sweets. I told her today that we’d look into making gum for her to try, but I wasn’t looking forward to that experiment. Enter honeycomb! I can’t wait to hit the farmers’ market tomorrow.

    Thanks mama. <3

    Reply
  8. We. especially the young ones, have always ate and chewed the honeycomb and resin we call luban in Arabic (its very similar to frankincense but sweeter and less bitter than frankincense). We have done so because we are originally from Yemen, but now I can appreciate the benefits that go with it, thanks for the post!

    Reply
  9. Thanks for this info. Any suggestions for a healthy “peppermint” gum alternative. I am a dance teacher and occassionally when I feel a little naseous while teaching will chew peppermint gum to help ease my stomach…Peelu…which has xylotal…..any ideas on a better alternative for such a situation? Thanks

    Reply
  10. Erin Horn via Facebook January 16, 2013 at 11:46 pm

    I exclusively chew gum when flying to help my ears from popping and getting terribly stopped up- is the texture of honeycomb similar enough to gum to use it for this purpose? (I hope the answer is yes, so I be that weirdo with honeycomb at the airport)

    Reply
  11. Sarah Couture Pope via Facebook January 16, 2013 at 6:47 pm

    Destiney Marsh Fischer You can reverse the dental problems with diet and skip the gum that will cause other problems. Xylitol is unfortunately only a band-aid approach for fixing the root cause of the dental issues.

    Reply
  12. Can anyone tell me who to contact to get onto ButterBuddies? I registered for it just after I joined WAP 2 months ago – I know it is a separate log-in from WAP, and I have my log-in info – I registered for ButterBuddies and got log-in info and an email from them, but could never log-in. Webmaster hasn’t replied to a couple emails, I called WAP HQ…Not having BB kills alot of the reason for joining WAP. Anyone know who to contact? I’m disappointed in the lack of response.

    Reply
  13. Perfect timing! My son just asked me yesterday if it was okay to chew honeycomb. He hates gum, by the way, but my other son loves gum. I do remember chewing it as a girl since we kept bees. I’ll have to find a beekeeper, I guess, and ask if he/she would save it for me. Where do you get yours?
    D Bundy\’s last post: Salvaging a Botched Schedule

    Reply
  14. Several years ago I bought comb honey at a farmer’s market, really looking foward to chewing the comb. Imagine my horror when I bit into it and tasted paraffin! Many beekeepers do not allow the bees to make their own comb, instead they give them combs made with a mix of beeswax and paraffin. And of course many keepers will be dosing their hives with antibiotics. So be careful and know your source!

    Reply
  15. I imagine you get a good dose of sucrose & fructose with the honey that comes attached to the comb. Not so good for folks with insulin resistance, NAFL, weightt issues. Seems like it would fuel the sugar cravings. I like to chew fennel seeds, typically something done by people from India. They often have a sugary coating on it but just plain old fennel seeds work just as well. They take a while to chew, clean out your mouth and breath.

    Reply
  16. Is this ‘allowed’ on GAPS? My husband LOVED chewing gum before he started GAPS, and misses it a lot-it always helped with his food cravings. He would be thrilled to have another option!

    Reply
  17. With a new new 6-wk-old baby and a toddler at home, I recently found myself chewing gum as a stress reliever!!? (Really don’t know how that came about cause i’m not a smoker!!!) The flavor of the orange ’5′ gum just calms me; and Everytime I pop one in my mouth, I think about how ba this is for my stomach…but I do it anyway out of frustration! :/

    Reply
  18. Cecile Cates Gegg via Facebook January 16, 2013 at 1:42 pm

    My Mom used to buy this for us when we were young, and I loved it so. Didn’t realize that you could actually swallow it after the honey was all chewed out. I think I’ll be trying this again!

    Reply
  19. DEAR SARA,TODAY I HAD A UTILITY WORKER TELLING ME ABOUT REMOVING MY OLD METER AND REPLACING IT WITH A SMART METER I REFUSE AND HE RES PONDED THAT HE WILL COME BACK . WHAT D I DO REGARDING HIS MATTER .I REMEMBER YOU HAD AN ARTICLE REGARDING SMART METERS

    Reply
  20. Allison Fenbert Throckmorton via Facebook January 16, 2013 at 12:14 pm

    What about xylitol in toothpaste? What do you use for toothpaste Sarah? Even Earthpaste has xylitol in it…and I thought I was doing good!

    Reply
  21. Ann Dickinson Degenhard via Facebook January 16, 2013 at 11:58 am

    Apparently we are ahead of the game on this one. After tending our bees, my daughter loves to chew “honey gum”

    Reply
  22. Brittany Barefoot Ramos via Facebook January 16, 2013 at 11:33 am

    Since I gave up sugar and artificial sweeteners, gum is the one thing I miss the most. Thanks for the suggestion!

    Reply
    • Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist

      The great thing is that the honeycomb completely dissolves and you swallow it bit by tiny bit within about 15-20 minutes so you don’t chew too long contributing to those TMJ and jaw issues that chomping on gum constantly can lead to over time. Chewing on honeycomb has a built in safety mechanism so to speak so you don’t absentmindedly end up chewing longer than is healthy for your jaw.

      Reply

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