Papercut and colored pencil art by Sheryl Aronson X 5

Monday, July 26, 2010

Chewing Gum is Good For You

Chewing gum seems such a minor thing, but it has many advantages.  The obvious one is that it tastes good (some kinds for longer than others).  There are more and more flavors every time I go to buy some.  My favorite is Trident Blueberry Twist.  I chew it for a few minutes, then I tuck it into my cheek, and bring it back out to chew whenever I want, or whenever my mouth feels dry.   The flavor lasts for quite a long time this way, and seems to last the longest with this flavor.

When I buy gum, I look for kinds that have Xylitol as the first sweetener.  It is metabolized differently from  Sucrose (regular sugar).  It is safe for use by diabetics,  it keeps bacteria from adhering to your teeth, so it decreases tooth decay.  I stay away from sugared gums.  I recently tried Stride Mega Mystery flavor, even though Xylitol was the second sweetener listed, because I liked the multicolored package, and I was curious. (Marketing works).  It has an intense fruity flavor that is very good, but does not last as long as the Trident Blueberry.

Studies have shown that chewing gum can increase alertness, decrease stress and anxiety, and decrease levels of  Cortisol, a major stress hormone.  Gum can also increase concentration, and therefore performance, freshen breath, and can even help with weight lose /control.. A study at the University of Rhode Island  showed that chewing sugarless gum not only lead to decreased calorie intake, but also increased energy output.

 The act of chewing itself stimulates saliva, gum stimulates chewing, so chewing gum is good for people with dry mouth, like me and my fellow 'shogies' (people with Sjogren's Syndrome, an autoimmune syndrome that affects the moisture producing glands in the body).

About 18 years ago, I was at a baby shower for my sister, and I was chewing gum.  When watching the movie that we took of the party, I saw myself chomping away, and it looked 'unladylike'.  For many years after that, I was careful not to chew gum in public.  Now I have decided that it is OK to chew gum in public, because I don't chomp noisily or rudely, and I know it is good for me.

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