chewing gum for mental health
Health

Can Chewing Gum Help Your Mental Health?

Covid-19 and Mental Health

With the Covid-19 pandemic still raging across the globe, there’s been a great prevalence in depression and anxiety when compared to estimates reported pre-pandemic. Due to the rapidly growing concern around the deaths associated with mental health problems, clinical experts have referred to this crisis as a second pandemic of stress, anxiety and depression.

It’s no doubt that poor mental health can cause individuals a disadvantage in all aspects of their life; they experience challenges at both school and work leading to unemployment as well as a negative impact on their physical health which often advances to premature mortality.

As this mental health spillover from Coronovirus seems to be escalating, clinicians have called for a comprehensive public health response to address the psychological aspects of the pandemic, and new approaches to providing mental health care in communities while health service resources are strained.

Mental Health and Social Media

There’s been a longstanding debate on both the positive and negative side effects of using social media. Whilst social media can be a brilliant tool to connect with others and become part of likeminded communities for advice and support, it can also have negative consequences.

It has been reported that social media apps, such as TikTok or Instagram, have been exacerbating mental health issues, instead of alleviating loneliness during the pandemic, particularly amongst young people. Therefore, as a society, we need to develop new and effective coping skills; one being the simple act of chewing sugar free gum.

How Chewing Gum Can Aid Mental Health

The ameliorative effects of chewing gum have been the subject of scientific research since before the pandemic and people, such as the Ancient Greeks, Aztecs and Mayans, have been chewing gum for its health benefits dated as far back as 8,000 years ago. It has shown to reduce stress, depression, high blood pressure and high cholesterol which further alleviates the mood and minimises fatigue.

Chewing gum has also been reported to aid concentration and improving the ability to focus, so individuals can concentrate on one task for a longer period of time without being distracted as well as increase their productivity alongside reducing cognitive errors. This is particularly useful for those working from home, as creating a balance and setting boundaries between our personal and professional lives can be difficult.

Moreover, chewing gum can lower anxiety as well as aid digestion because the symptoms associated with anxiety release hormones which enter the digestive tract and interfere with digestion. A reduction in gut flora can cause gastrointestinal issues which often lead to symptoms such as stomach cramps, diarrhoea, constipation, nausea, IBS and peptic ulcers.

Chewing Sugar Free Gum Has Wider Benefits

Whilst there are compelling reasons to chew gum for good oral health and reduced cavities, there are wider benefits to this simple act which could possibly help the mental health pandemic currently growing across the globe. Therefore, sugar-free chewing gum should be part of a simple toolbox for everyone experiencing anxiety in the wake of the pandemic, and especially young people.

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3 Comments

  1. Wow! My nan did the right thing always chewing gum.

  2. Jessthepoet says:

    Great Article! I love chewing gum and always keep some to calm me!

  3. I thought I was the only one! I chew gum when I have to do the supermarket shop at a busy time, for example, as I can anxious about the number of people in the store. 😊

    I might start chewing my gum when I need to concentrate on a particular task to see if it works for me.

    Thank you for sharing. 😊

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