TMJ Pain, Headaches, and Chewing Gum

Bubble by Hilde Skjølberg http://www.flickr.com/photos/hebe/Most kids like to chew gum. It’s just a fact. Usually once a kid starts chewing gum it can be pretty difficult to get them to stop. As annoying as this can be there may be an even worse side effect of your children chewing gum, and that’s migraines.

At-Risk Youth

Almost any doctor or dentist will tell you that excessive use or stress to the temporomandibular joint, or TMJ, will cause all sorts of problems including headaches. However, now according to a new study by Dr. Nathan Watemberg, a researcher with the Tele Aviv University-affiliated Meir Medical Center it can affect kids aged 6-19 the most.

Why? The answer is pretty simple. Kids and young adults chew a lot more gum on average than most grown adults thereby causing much more stress to the TMJ.

After noticing that many of his patients that had previously reported migraines and headaches were also frequent gum chewers, he began to believe that these headaches, including some severe and chronic migraines, could be eliminated or alleviated simply by having the patient stop chewing gum.

The Results

Using 30 patients in his study, all who had chronic migraine or tension headaches, he asked all of them to completely eliminate gum chewing for one month. These patients chewed gum from one to six hours per day. After one month without gum 19 out of 30 patients reported that these headaches, again considered chronic, had simply gone away. In fact out of the remaining 11, 7 more patients reported a decrease in the severity of the headaches.

To further test his results support his theory, he then had 26 patients resume gum chewing for two weeks. Every single one of the 26 patients reported that the headaches has returned both in frequency and severity.

So although gum chewing may not always be the culprit, if your child is experiencing migraines, pay close attention to whether or not they are also frequent gum chewers. If they are, have them stop and hopefully the migraines will be a thing of the past.

Dan Matthews DDS
Dan Matthews Dan Matthews DDS The Park at Eanes Creek,
4407 Bee Cave Road
Building 2, Suite 221
Austin, Texas, 78746
(512) 452-2273
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