Mouths are incredible in their functionality. With your teeth, you can rip apart tender, juicy steaks and grind up delicious, healthy fruits and veggies. With your tongue, you can see how many licks it takes to get to the center of a tootsie roll pop, enjoy all of the flavorfulness of diverse foods and even keep yourself from choking as it pushes your food back, down your esophagus.Your mouth is even quite useful in the processing of food. Your saliva begins to break down carbohydrates, while you’re still chewing! Mouths are multi-tasking champs. New research even suggests that chewing can make you smarter!
How Chewing Makes You Smarter
Researchers at St. Lawrence University got their little experiment going with 224 undergraduate students from their university. They had a third of the students chew gum right before a test, the second third chew during the test and the last third not chew anything. The study showed that those who chewed gum right before the test “recalled 25-to-50-percent more items than the controls.” So why did only those who chewed before the test reap the rewards? They believe the answer is attributed to the fact that chewing gum during the test may use up more mental capacities, therefore leveling out any rewards they may otherwise receive from their gum chewing.
The researchers attribute the students’ improved performance during the test to the increased blood flow to the brain. The stimulating movement caused by chewing warms the brain up. Since the mouth is so close to the brain, the brain is directly effected by your gum chewing habit!
Now, before you start eating everything in sight, you should know that this chewing power only lasts for a short time, about 15-20 minutes, and is most beneficial if what you are chewing is gum. Gum chewing is more vigorous and ongoing than simply chewing food. Also, overeating can bog you down,which is counterproductive if your goal is mental sharpness, focus and better testing abilities.
Perhaps chewing doesn’t technically make you smarter, but rather it helps you access the intelligence you already possess!
Other Gum Chewing Benefits
Reduces stress- This likely works in a similar way to how gum boosts your intelligence. Research has found that chewing gum can increase your body’s ability to deal with stress. Since fighting stress is done primarily in your brain, it makes sense that increased blood flow would help move things along.
Lose weight/help maintain weight- A lot of people eat out of habit or boredom. Chewing gum can help you resist the urge to chow down since your mouth will be busy chewing and making you smarter!
Quit smoking– Just like with food, smoking becomes a habit. Even if you’ve kicked the physical addiction, it may be challenging to kick the habit of having something to do with your mouth. So instead of puffing away, chew away, instead!
Prevent cavities- Chewing gum boosts salivation. Saliva, in turn, helps wash away cavity-causing bacteria. However, don’t forget to visit Dr. Dan Matthews twice a year to make sure your gum chewing didn’t miss anything!