However, recent research indicates that chewing gum may actually be the culprit behind headaches. Dr. Nathan Watemberg of Tel Aviv University’s research demonstrated that teenagers and even younger children who regularly chew gum ended up with reoccurring headaches.
When patients are treated for migraines and tension headaches, there is usually additional testing or medication prescribed to determine the cause of pain. Dr. Watemberg stated that out of the 30 patients that decided to stop gum chewing, 26 found a significant improvement and 19 of them had found that their headache had left completely. Dr. Watemberg then took a step further and asked twenty of his patients to go back to gum chewing, and within a couple days, all of them reported that the pain had come back.
Headaches have been known to be a common and reoccurring problem throughout childhood, especially in teenage girls. Past research have shown that these headaches can be set off by a range of stressors, including lack of sleep, tiredness, missed meals, noise, and menstruation, and even video games! But little research has put gum chewing in the spotlight.
Previous studies that have linked gum chewing to headaches offer various explanations; however, Dr. Watemberg believes that the amount of chewing can cause significant stress on the temporomandibular joint, TMJ, which is the area where the jaw meets the skull. Many people tend to continue to chew their gum even after the taste is gone, which then continues to put stress on the TMJ. Dr. Watemberg believes if children and teenagers should consider limiting the amount of gum they chew, they will be drastically less susceptible to the headaches that plague their age group.
Whether you are in your adolescent years are well past your teenage years, it’s still important to consider the stress that is placed daily on the TMJ. When it’s up to the third stick of gum for the day, think of your TMJ and maybe it’ll save you from that reoccurring migraine! If you have any more questions, feel free to contact Drs. Ali & Ali and the caring team at Wellesley Dental Group if you have any thoughts or concerns; they will be happy to answer your questions! Contact us today at 781-237-9071 or firstname.lastname@example.org to set up an appointment and consultation.