Last Update: 15 Aug 00

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(R) I've heard alot of people say that chewing gum is bad for you. Have you heard that anywhere? If you have why is it bad for you, and what does it do?
(MB) The most obvious and referenced problem is the increased potential for tooth damage from chewing sugary gum. There is also the possibility that chewing large wads (especially of stiff gums like bubble gum) all day long (as many chewers do) can cause tooth misalignment in children. It can also damage dental work and there are studies which suggest that gum can extract mercury from fillings and cause it to be introduced into the blood stream. I've heard of cases where jaw muscles are adversely affected by vigorous long-time chewing of multiple pieces. Finally, some folks who swallow their chewed wads can experience problems if the wad gets lodged in their digestive tract.
    However, with the possible exception of the tooth damage issue, I don't think that any of these problems are the stuff of which public health emergencies are made. I'm more interested in why people want to chew the stuff at all and why so many chewers are such noisy, slobbering barbarians while chewing.

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