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
Sarah Pope has been a Health and Nutrition Educator since 2002. Her work is dedicated to helping families effectively incorporate the principles of ancestral diets within the modern household. She is a sought after lecturer around the world for conferences, summits, and podcasts.
Her work has been covered by major media including USA Today, ABC, NBC, and many others.