Science Saturdays: Chewing gum makes jerky teens more of a jerk

gum girl


Aren’t teenagers such jerks? Just picture one in your head: music blaring, underwear showing, eyes rolling, and gum chewing. Gnawing like cows, teens go through gum like it’s their job. They can tell you the difference between Stride and Five, and can offer you advice on how to be the most obnoxious while chewing it.

What happens if you don’t understand their lingo, or explanation of their love of gum? They walk away rubbing their temples, soothing the headache you caused. Gosh, teens are always complaining! Can’t you just picture your teenage-self storming into your room, slamming your door, and screaming “YOU’RE GIVING ME A HEADACHE!”? Yeah, you were a jerk too, believe it or not.

Well, new studies have shown that the reason for their chronic headaches may be their favourite lip-smacking flavour stick. In a study done by Tel Aviv University’s Dr Nathan Watemberg, it was found that by simply quitting bubble gum there is a significant decrease in the suffering of migraine headaches, among adolescents.

Dr. Watemberg asked 30 patients between six and 19 years old who had chronic migraine or tension headaches and chewed gum daily to quit chewing gum for one month […] After a month without gum, 19 of the 30 patients reported that their headaches went away entirely and seven reported a decrease in the frequency and intensity of headaches. To test the results, 26 of them agreed to resume gum chewing for two weeks. All of them reported a return of their symptoms within days.

You see that? ALL OF THEM reported relapse effects of headaches. As Dylan would say, “it’s crazy, man!”

Now, why does this happen? Dr Watemberg explains that the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is already the most stressed joint in the body (because it is used when you eat, duh). This is the joint that connects the jaw to the skull, and when chewing after the flavour’s gone, the constant burden put on the joint leads to migraines.

So just stop chewing gum if you’re susceptible to headaches! If you need a new habit, switch to smoking–nothing wrong with that. (JUST KIDDING, DO NOT SMOKE! I DO NOT CONDONE IT!)

Have a great weekend y’all!

Post Script: Here’s the article, if you want to read it.

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