Chronic Headaches and Gum Chewing

(c) Can Stock Photo

March 18, 2014

If you were ever a surly teenager, or currently the parent of one, you know a lot about that annoying habit – gum chewing.  Here are a couple of questions for you:  Did your chronic headaches begin around that time in your life?  Does your own teenage child complain about chronic migraines or headaches?  Researchers have discovered that the annoying snapping and crackling wad of pink stuff in a teenager’s mouth may be linked with these headaches.

A physician with the Meir Medical Center, University of Tel-Aviv in Israel noticed that many of his pediatric patients complaining about headaches were also enthusiastic gum chewers.  He proceeded to conduct a study with 30 subjects between the ages of 6 and 19.  They all reported either chronic migraines or chronic headaches related to tension.

They were asked to stop chewing gum for an entire month.  The results confirmed the doctor’s hypothesis.  It was evident there was in fact a link between the headaches, migraines and gum chewing: 19 patients reported their headaches stopped and 7 youngsters reported their headache intensity and frequency dropped.  The doctor indicates that temporomandibular joint dysfunction is likely the root cause of the headaches.

This joint (connecting the jaw to the head) becomes overstressed with constant gum chewing. The results of this study were published in the journal Pediatric Neurology.

Just think…the benefits of breaking the gum-chomping habit could surpass your imagination!  Unless it is sugarless, chewing gum is increasing the risk for developing cavities, driving you crazy and possibly triggering your child’s chronic migraines or headaches.  Not to mention, screaming at your teenager to stop the incessant gum crackling, snapping and bubble blowing is also giving YOU chronic headaches.

So if you must, strike a deal with your youngster and suggest that if they give up gum for a whole month, you will ‘get off their case’ about that awful music they listen to!


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