The Surprising Benefits of Chewing Gum

by | Updated: July 3rd, 2012 | Read time: 1 minute

It freshens your breath and keeps your mouth entertained when talking is off limits””but who knew chewing gum could actually be good for your health?

Gum’s been around for centuries. Ancient Greeks chewed mastiche, a chewy substance made from the resin of the mastic tree. Ancient Mayans chomped on chicle, from the sapodilla tree. And Native Americans smacked on spruce sap, passing the habit onto settlers. These early forms of gum were believed to clean teeth and keep breath odor-free, before the invention of toothpaste.

Gum as we know it today surfaced in the late 1800s-early 1900s. Dentyne was introduced in 1899, and Wrigley Doublemint, which added tasty flavors to previously bland chewing wads, was launched in 1914. It wasn’t until the past few decades that people began to notice gum’s greater effects.  

Beyond oral health, gum may help combat stress, facilitate weight management, encourage better digestion, promote focus and concentration, and support memory. After years of hearing its customers tout these benefits, the Wm. Wrigley Jr. Co. created the Wrigley Science Institute in 2006 to search for scientific proof to back the anecdotal evidence. Study results will eventually be published in peer-reviewed journals.

For best health benefits, chew sugar-free gum, which is calorie free and better for your teeth. If you are weary of artificial sweeteners, try a variety naturally sweetened with xylitol.