Contribution by Nadia Gomez.

Chewing gum is the choice of preference among all candy in most age groups, and although it is not ingested, it is considered a part of an individual’s regular diet.

Although this may seem like a normal and harmless habit, gum-chewing is considered a parafunction that causes inflammation of the temporomandibular joint, and fatigue and pain in muscles of mastication.

  • Gum-chewing on a regular basis = pain, clicking and locking of the jaw.
  • Gum-chewing for several hours a day = pain, clicking and locking of the jaw, swelling and stiffness of the muscles of mastication.

Chewing gum can also be associated with headaches and limited mouth opening. The type and quality of pain will depend on the number of hours and type of chewing. If after chewing gum, the limit of pain has been reached, it can be treated with heat or ice, as well as over the counter medications like NSAIDS to decrease pain and inflammation.

There is enough evidence to support the idea of gum-chewing causing TMJ pain and headaches; ideally, gum should be eliminated entirely from a lifestyle.


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