It depends. If the gum contains sugar, it can lead to cavities or weight gain from all those empty calories. The average stick of regular gum contains about 10 calories; chew five sticks a day and that adds up to an extra 18,250 calories per year-the equivalent of 5.2 pounds! Even if you opt for the sugar-free kind, it can trigger stomach troubles: Sorbitol, a sugar alternative commonly used in sugarless gums, can be hard to digest, especially for people with gastrointestinal problems such as irritable bowel syndrome. The simple act of chewing gum causes you to swallow air, which can result in intestinal gas and cramps. And excessive chewing can overwork the jaw's temporomandibular joint (in front of the ear) and trigger pain. If you don't have any of these concerns, though, or if your gum habit replaces a worse one (such as smoking), then I say go ahead and chew away.
For more great answers to your health questions, visit the experts at Self.com.
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