Chewing sugarless gum for 20 minutes after a meal can reduce your risk of tooth decay, as noted by the American Dental Association. Sugarless gum promotes the flow of saliva with increased concentrations of phosphate and calcium, which strengthens your tooth enamel. Despite the dental health benefits associated with sugarless gum, sensitive individuals can experience health problems from chewing sugarless gum.
For some people, chewing sugarless gum can cause extreme intestinal discomfort, including cramps, gas and diarrhea. The culprits producing these symptoms are likely the artificial sweeteners used in sugarless gums, according to an article published in "The Seattle Times" in February 2017. The digestive tract can't readily absorb these sweeteners. They instead interact with bacteria in the large intestine, causing the formation of gas and sometimes causing cramps and diarrhea, as well.
EXCESSIVE WEIGHT LOSS
Chewing large amounts of sugarless gum can lead to excessive weight loss, as indicated by an article published in the January 2008 issue of the British Medical Association's journal, "BMJ." Sorbitol, a common ingredient in sugarless gum, has laxative properties, which can cause diarrhea. Chewing sugarless gum instigated chronic diarrhea that led to radical weight loss in two different individuals. When these people stopped chewing sugarless gum, their diarrhea ceased and they regained the lost weight.
Chewing sugarless gum containing aspartame might trigger headaches in sensitive individuals. Most sugarless gums still contain the artificial sweetener aspartame, even if they are sweetened with another or several other artificial sweeteners. In the late 1980s, researchers concluded that aspartame consumption in sensitive individuals might cause headaches, as explained in the February 1989 issue of the journal "Headache." However, according to a 2017 review published in "Critical Reviews in Toxicology," aspartame consumption has no proven ill effects on health.
Chewing sugarless gum can sometimes lead to inadvertent swallowing of the gum. Your digestive system can't digest chewing gum. Swallowed gum usually passes through the digestive system without harm and is excreted whole in your stool. Swallowing larger masses of chewing gum can potentially cause intestinal blockage, particularly in children, as indicated by Mayo Clinic gastroenterologist Michael F. Picco, M.D. He discourages the practice of swallowing of any type of chewing gum for this reason.
- American Dental Association; Eating Habits for a Healthy Smile and Body
- "The Seattle Times"; Sugarless Gum -- A Gas for Some; Joe Graedon, et al.
- "BMJ"; Severe Weight Loss Caused by Chewing Gum; Juergen Bauditz, et al.
- "Headache"; Aspartame as a DietaryTrigger of Headache; R.B. Lipton, et al.
- "Critical Reviews in Toxicology"; Aspartame: A Safety Evaluation Based on Current Use Levels, Regulations, and Toxicological and Epidemiological Studies; B.A. Magnuson, et al.
- MayoClinic.com; Swallowing Gum -- Is It Harmful?; Michael F. Picco, M.D.