Does chewing gum give you a headache?

When it comes to the age-old question of whether or not chewing gum gives you a headache, one thing is certain – this topic has been chewed over more than an old wad of Juicy Fruit. While some say the jaw motion associated with chewing can trigger headaches, others swear by its headache relief properties.

So what’s the real deal? Let’s dive into this sticky subject and find out.

The Science of Chewing Gum

Before we get into whether or not chewing gum causes headaches, let’s first take a closer look at what happens when we chew.

Chewing involves repetitive motions of our jaw muscles which enable us to break down food particles while activating saliva production in our mouths. Our bodies produce enzymes that help with digestion when stimulated by consistent mastication through popping open enzyme-filled sacs!

In fact, studies have shown that even pretending to chew (without any actual food present) can increase blood flow and stimulate brain activity which could potentially translate into better focus – so there may be some truth to the idea that working those jaw muscles can actually be good for you!

Does Chewing Gum Give You A Headache?

Now on to the million-dollar question: does all this chomping cause head pain?

While there doesn’t appear to be too much research specifically focused on analyzing how chewing gum affects your noggins, there are several ways in which it could hypothetically contribute:

  • TMJ Disorders
    One potential explanation for why some people might experience headaches after extended periods of time spent gumming away is due to temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders. TMJ disorders impact muscle tension/jaw movement related functions affecting vital joints like mandible without proper alignment resulting in severe pain and other disability symptoms.

  • Increased Muscle Tension
    As mentioned earlier our ‘chewternatives’ favor mandibular movements that largely involve masseter muscles causing an abnormally increased tone of it which overtime can cause muscle tightness from your neck and shoulders to your head.

  • Aspartame
    Many types of chewing gum contain the artificial sweetener aspartame, which for some people might be a migraine trigger. There’s no conclusive evidence to confirm this link however study mentions about headache symptoms arising due to strong sweetness intensity involving mechanisms related with sensitivity overstimulation.

The Headache Relief Properties

Okay, so we’ve established a few potential ways in which chewing gum might lead to headaches – but what about its supposed pain-relieving properties?

It’s true that there is anecdotal evidence suggesting some folks do experience relief from headaches after chomping on the right kind of gum. This could potentially be tied into any number of factors:

  • Distraction
    Sometimes simply focusing on something else (like chewing) can help take one’s mind off pain or discomfort.

  • Caffeine Content
    Some kinds feature caffeine content within them incentivizing us by waking up brain releasing adrenaline resulting in mood enhancement making you feel productive throughout the day

  • Increased Blood Flowing Through Temples
    Certain aromas met by Stimulus-sensitive Baroreceptors through nasal inhalation along O2-carbon dioxide exchange leads more blood circulating through temporal lobes! As well Increased production and redistribution of natural opioids such as Endorphins are released in our bloodstream when stimulated thus reducing stress associated with emotional tension!

While these explanations may all contribute somehow… it remains unclear just how much scientific research has been done investigating if “gum therapy” actually works like magic for headaches(pls include asterisk here), or whether other factors (e.g., placebo effect!) come into play instead/mostly thereby providing subjective relief.

Which Types Of Gum Are best For Headaches?

So let’s say you’re convinced that chewing gum is the cure to all of life’s headaches. Which types should you reach for when looking for pain relief?

  • Peppermint
    Peppermint oil, which several brands of gum feature in their products, has been shown to have a relaxing effect on muscle tissue my easing tension caused by stress thereby interacting with our baroreceptors olfactory sensors and causing less activation over central stress-inducing cells found deep inside your brain!

  • Cinnamon
    This spicy number can potentially help stimulate blood flow and reduce tightness throughout the head where it matters most.

  • Ginger
    Fans often recommend ginger-flavored gums as another possible option for combatting pain-related symptoms because it has anti-inflammatory properties some studies say.

That being said, there doesn’t appear to be any evidence showing one type over another definitively better at treating headaches (hoorayyyy, research!). So go ahead and pick your poison(less harmful kind)!

Conclusion

So does chewing gum give you a headache? The answer appears preeeeeeetty complicated – but based on existing knowledge surrounding how jaw movement impacts muscle tension/etc., there may be some truth to this notion.

All that being said however remember that consuming large amounts particularly more than usually recommended or ignoring dental hygiene could actually bring about more trouble than benefits! With so many potential variables involved around such an enigmatic subject its tough knowing exactly what impact frequent gumming away might universally bring upon us let alone whether or not “chews-ing” really provides relief beyond placebo! Though personal experiences differ greatly across individuals, study summaries back up value within certain gums given noted ingredients potentially able reducing discomfort.

Whether chewing gives us sweet freedom from our skull crushing woes remains unknown…but hey – if popping in a piece of peppermint helps ease even just one migraine attack wouldn’t that constitute as pretty darn refreshing anyways!?

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