Can You Chew Your Heartburn Away?
Do you have a favorite flavor of chewing gum? Do you chew gum to freshen your breath, relieve tension or reduce hunger pangs? It's pretty difficult to get through the check-out aisle at any store without being tempted by the many different available brands of gum. Clearly, Americans love to chew, but did you know that while you are chomping away that you may also be relieving heartburn?
It probably requires thinking outside of the box to imagine chewing gum as a simple way of alleviating the symptoms of acid reflux, but get outside the box and give it try. Chewing on a couple of pieces of gum actually may force fluids back down where they belong, into your stomach. Also, chewing tends to generate more saliva which in turns floods the esophagus. Saliva will neutralize acids, the same nasty acids that cause heartburn. Don't have a stick of gum handy? Suck on a lozenge or a piece of hard candy, anything that stimulates that flow of saliva.
There are a number of studies that indicate that the chewing of gum can be helpful, however, it may not work for everyone. Actually, chewing a lot of gum can actually result in the secondary problem of swallowing too much air. It seems some people cannot win. Their heartburn may be traded for bloating and gas, instead. Ugh! That's no picnic either.
The best time for chewing gum as a possible remedy for acid reflux is for 30 minutes after a meal, in particular, a meal that tends to be problematic. The type of gum doesn't seem to matter, but sugarless is recommended. Daily use of sugared gums can cause dental decay and an increase in cavities.
Heartburn is painful and can lead to other serious problems like GERD. If you suffer from occasional heartburn that may not be a problem, but if your heartburn is frequent, see a doctor. Receiving a proper diagnosis is important. With appropriate medication, lifestyle changes and maybe even a piece of chewing gum every now and again, acid reflux can be managed.
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