Gum Chewing and Headaches

A recent article in the March 2014 issue of the JADA (Journal of the American Dental Association) entitled “Gum Chewing Linked To Headaches In Children” reveals new evidence that may surprise you. A research team headed by Nathan Watemberg, MD and affiliated with Tel Aviv University School of Medicine consecutively recruited 30 patients aged 6 to 19 years old who had chronic migraine or tension headaches and chewed gum between one and six hours a day. Participants quit chewing gum for one month and were then interviewed by researchers. 63% of the patients reported that their headaches went away entirely and 23% of patients reported a decrease in the severity and frequency of headaches. To test these results, 26 patients were asked to resume gum chewing for two weeks. 100% of these participants reported a return of their symptoms within days. Bottom line: Teenagers with chronic headaches who chew gum should be advised to simply stop the habit, thus providing many of them a quick and effective treatment without the need for diagnostic tests or medications.

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