« Broccoli Cheddar Soup | Main | Cheddar is a verb »



I really like Betel Nut and Coca Leaves.. Juicyfruit... not so much.


I would always, ALWAYS, be suspicious of research that is sponsored or funded by the beneficiary of positive results, whether that be Big Pharma, or a food processor, or exercise equipment, or anything else.

The study cited is to be presented at a symposium. It does not appear to have been published, much less received peer review. The abstract does not provide data re statistical significance, nor information about controls for observer or participant bias.

It may be true. I can't condemn the findings a priori. But I would have severe doubts.


I'm really glad that you've found something that works.


Symposium papers are reviewed before they're accepted, although I don't know what the process was in this case. I'm certainly not telling anyone to run out and buy a pack of gum. The research is interesting though, and it can always be duplicated and either confirmed or disputed by other researchers.


Thanks, Ana. It's been pretty astonishing, although my "results" are obviously anecdotal.


Here's an article that is directly related to the effect of chewing on nociceptive (pain) responses -- it appears to suppress them:

Abstract: Serotonergic (5-HT) neurons are implicated in modulating nociceptive transmission. It is established that 5-HT neuronal activity is enhanced by rhythmic behaviors such as chewing and locomotion in animals. We thus hypothesized that 5-HT descending inhibitory pathways may be enhanced by rhythmic behavior of gum chewing in humans. To evaluate this idea, we examined nociceptive flexion reflex (NFR), while a subject chewed gum rhythmically for 20min. NFR was elicited by electrical stimulation of the sural nerve, and the evoked potential was recorded from the biceps femoris muscle. Visual analogue scale (VAS) was also obtained. To assess 5-HT activity, we determined 5-HT levels quantitatively in platelet poor plasma (PPP) and whole blood (WB) using HPLC system. Both NFR area and VAS were significantly decreased at 5min after the onset of chewing and these reductions persisted until cessation of chewing. There were no significant changes in NFR and VAS while resting without chewing. The PPP 5-HT level increased significantly just after cessation of chewing and had returned to the pre-chewing level by 30min after cessation of chewing. The WB 5-HT level obtained 30min after cessation of chewing was significantly greater than the pre-chewing level. Serotonin transporters have recently been discovered at the blood–brain barrier, suggesting that the rise in blood 5-HT may possibly reflect an increase in 5-HT level within the brain. The present results support our hypothesis that the rhythmic behavior of chewing suppresses nociceptive responses via the 5-HT descending inhibitory pathway.


(I have the article as a pdf)


I certainly wouldn't recommend it in a preventative sense. I've talked about chewing gum in passing with a variety of medical professionals, they all were distinctly negative on gum chewing, and not just because of rotting teeth. #. But if it works, it works.


I know about the negatives but the positives outweigh it for me, and if you chew sugarless gum dentists won't complain.


My daughter's orthodontist recommends sugarless gum for pain from tightening braces.

The comments to this entry are closed.