If you or your child is experiencing headaches, there may be a quick fix available: quit chewing gum. According to new research from Tel Aviv University, chewing gum has been associated with chronic headaches.

Gum Chewing Associated with Headaches

In this new study, 30 children and teenagers who reported chronic headaches, either migraines or tension headaches, were asked to stop chewing gum for a month. The subjects were age 6-19, and all of them chewed gum for at least an hour a day, and up to six hours a day. When subjects gave up gum, 26 of the sufferers saw significant improvement, and 19 saw their headaches stop completely.

These subjects were all asked to resume gum chewing for two weeks. When they did, they all saw their symptoms return.

Gum chewing can lead to TMJ pain

TMJ Blamed for Headaches

The lead researcher in this study blames the headaches on TMJ. He says, “Every doctor knows that overuse of the TMJ will cause headaches,” and recommends that the study has immediate applications. Teenagers and others who chew gum or other hard to chew foods for many hours a day should be counseled to give up chewing for a month to see if this affects their headaches.

This is not the first study to link gum chewing to headaches. Two previous studies had made the connection, but offered different explanations. One claimed that the artificial sweetener aspartame used in chewing gum could be responsible while the other pointed to TMJ. Researchers on this study noted that if aspartame were to blame, there would be more headaches associated with diet sodas, which contain much more aspartame than gum does.

If you are looking for relief from tension headaches associated with TMJ strain, please contact Beyond Exceptional Dentistry in the Hilton Head, SC area.