We have seen many clients at the PMDC dental clinic in Bangkok who are a little overzealous when it comes to chewing gum. While it is seen as a great way to keep plaque at bay, did you know chewing gum can also cause headaches? We have seen dozens of patients who suffered from symptoms such as dizziness and headaches only to discover the real cause was chewing too much gum!
TMJD is also known as temporomandibular joint dysfunction and it is a condition sometimes overlooked by dentists and doctors. It is actually a broad term for any problems with the jaw joint, muscle around it or the cartilage disc. TMJD can cause issues such as pain in the jaw, a clicking noise and difficulties opening the mouth.
The Problem With Chewing Gum
At our dental clinic in Bangkok, many patients with TMJD have admitted that they chew gum on a regular basis. There was originally a belief that aspartame, the sweetener typically used in chewing gum, was responsible for TMJD. However, chewing gum only has flavor for a relatively short period of time which suggests it doesn’t contain too much sweetener. Besides, if aspartame was the cause, there would be a lot more headaches associated with diet soft drinks.
The majority of people chew gum long after the flavor is gone and excessive chewing can place significant stress on the TMJ. Ask any physician and they will tell you that overuse of the TMJ will lead to headaches.
A study published in Pediatric Neurology by a noted doctor in Tel Aviv University showed that chewing gum could in fact cause headaches. You can read more about the study in Science Daily and judge for yourself. If you enjoy chewing gum but suffer from headaches, there is likely to be a link.