A word about Chewing Gum

I know many youngsters, especially those who smoke, who frequently reach out for a chewing gum or “mouth fresheners” that they believe will get rid of odour or simply give them a juicy feeling in the mouth. More so owing to the slew of commercials advertising these mints and flavoured gums that supposedly make your breath as fresh as winds carrying rain clouds. So what’s the truth? Let’s find out.

First, a look at the flavours that go into making chewing gum. The flavours are composed mostly of different types of oils. Some oils have natural germ-fighting properties, and even help your body permanently reduce bad breath. Others act only temporarily and their strong fragrance only serves to create a façade against bad breath. The good ones are cinnamon, citrus and mint.

Cinnamon is a potent microbe killer that fights the root cause of bad breath. It’s also got a fresh smell of its own. Citrus gives you Vitamin C and stimulates the production of saliva in your mouth, which is itself an effective germ-fighter. Mint comes in a variety of sub-flavours—peppermint, spearmint, wintermint, etc. that give you a gust of fresh breath as soon as you pop the gum.

Depending on the type, flavour and make of the gum you chew, there are benefits other than fresh breath. Chewing gum can be good for you after meals, as it helps remove food particles from your teeth, strengthen your jaw muscles, kill bacteria, and aid in saliva production to stave off mouth dryness. Some premium gums act as teeth whiteners, others reduce sugar/snack cravings and still others help in digestion.

Now a word about hard mints—not the flavour but the alternatives (such as Polo) to gum. Some people don’t like chewing gum or chucking around something in their mouth for extended periods of time, so they prefer mints. Mints are also easier to carry in your pocket, wallet/purse, dashboard or two-wheeler dicky than gums as there’s no danger of them getting squished up. Mint packs also contain more pieces than gum packs; however, they dissolve faster.

Let me know about your favourite gums/mints in the comments below.