Headaches and Chewing Gum

Do you get frequent headaches? Do you chew a lot of gum? The two may be related according to a study published in the journal Pediatric Neurology.

Researchers at Tel Aviv University conducted an experiment on teenagers who had a median age of 16. All of the study participants got chronic headaches. The 25 girls and 5 boys were divided into groups based upon how much time they spent chewing gum each day.

All of the kids were asked to stop chewing gum for one month. Researchers checked up on them a few weeks after this. After the month-long abstinence from gum, 26 teens felt improvement in their headache symptoms and 19 of them stopped getting headaches completely! Twenty-six of the thirty kids started chewing gum again after their month was over and twenty of them got the headaches again.

Chewing gum places stress on the temporomandibular joint (TMJ or jaw joint). “Every doctor knows that overuse of the TMJ will cause headaches,” said Dr. Nathan Watemberg. “I believe this is what’s happening when children and teenagers chew gum excessively.”

Does this mean you can never chew gum again? The answer depends on whether or not you experience symptoms of TMJ dysfunction such as headache, neck or facial pain, clicking noises in the jaw or hearing changes. If migraine headaches are something you experience then skipping the chewing gum is advised. Good advice for adults and teens.

Find out more about TMJ problems and how they can be resolved by contacting Dr. John Highsmith in Clyde, NC today at 828-627-9282.

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