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Your Dentist Discusses: Does Chewing Gum Aid Concentration?

December 8, 2017

Filed under: Uncategorized — dr_steele @ 3:11 pm

taking a testSome people say that chewing a piece of gum is rude or that it looks unattractive. However, we’re not so fond of those old-school ideas. In fact, there is lots to love about chewing gum. It tastes delicious, it can help you fight cravings for sugary foods, and it can even help to prevent tooth decay. But did you know that it also has a link to how your brain works? Your Glendale dentist is here to discuss the fascinating relationship between chewing gum and concentration.

Chewing Gum and Your Memory

Numerous studies have examined the link between chewing gum and memory. Here are just a few examples from this extensive body of research:

  • A study by researchers at the Cardiff University in Wales asked some participants to chew gum during a 30-minute audio memory test. The people who chewed gum performed better, demonstrating quicker and more accurate results. They seemed to especially benefit toward the end of the task, which suggests that chewing gum can help people stay focused for longer.
  • Another study in the UK found that chewing gum has the potential to aid both long-term and short-term memory. Participants who chewed gum during a task scored 24 percent better in immediate recall tasks and 36 percent better in delayed recall tasks.

Gum doesn’t help with all areas of memory, though. In one study, people were asked to state whether complex images matched ones they had seen before. The participants who chewed gum didn’t perform any better than the ones with empty mouths.

Why Does It Work?

It has been well-established that chewing gum can give your brain an extra boost, but why on earth is that the case? Scientists have been trying to pinpoint a concrete explanation for the connection between gum and memory, but they haven’t yet settled on one that everyone can agree on.

Research has found that activity in the hippocampus, an area of the brain involved in memory, increases while people chew gum. The hippocampus also has insulin receptors, and some scientists believe that these receptors could also have a role in helping people concentrate.

A simpler explanation is that chewing gum slightly elevates the heart rate, which in turn delivers more oxygen to the brain. That oxygen boost can serve as a memory aid. Therefore, if you pace back and forth, juggle scarves, or hit a balloon around while you’re trying to memorize something, you might experience the same results as you would if you were chewing gum.

Whether you’re doing your homework and trying to prepare a big presentation for work, try popping a piece of gum in your mouth. It might help you concentrate!

About Arrowhead Foothills Dentistry

At Arrowhead Foothills Dentistry, we’re proud to be your dentist in Glendale. We love to serve the community and care for all of your oral healthcare needs. If you have questions about how to make sure your teeth and gums are in the best shape possible, please contact us at 602-978-9794.

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