Can Chewing Gum Give Kids Headaches?

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Children and teens generally love to chew gum.  They may chew gum to look “cool” or because they like the taste.  Sooner or later, they will come to the unfortunate realization: Chewing gum may be causing them to have frequent headaches. Is this a coincidence?  Not according to a recent study. Researchers have found that excessive gum chewing can lead to migraine or tension headaches – even in young children. Boy Chewing Bubble Gum in Brookline, MA How Can Gum Chewing Cause Headaches? Chewing gum frequently will overwork the muscles throughout your face and jaw.  The jaw joint (TMJ) will also be overused.  When your TMJ and chewing muscles are used excessively, they can trigger aches and pains due to the tension caused from muscle overuse. Children, teens, or anyone who chews gum often, is more susceptible to getting these kinds of headaches than those who do not chew gum. Young Boy with Headache from Chewing Gum in Brookline, MA What Can be Done to Treat the Headaches Caused From Gum Chewing? Simply discontinuing the use of chewing gum can relieve migraines and tension headaches.  A recent study showed that when some teenagers discontinued using gum, their headaches soon went away.  When they started chewing gum again, however, their headaches quickly came back. Once children and teens have their fill of these kinds of headaches, they will hopefully realize that habitually chewing gum is not worth the pain. Does Your Child Frequently Complain of Headaches? If this is the case, call Dental Partners of Brookline to schedule an exam. We will work with your child who suffers from frequent tension headaches to assess their condition and determine the proper method of therapy, if needed. Sometimes a bite splint or guard may be necessary if the child is undergoing other stressors that are leading to overuse of the TMJ muscles. Our dentists can quickly assess the situation and help your family make a plan for quick relief.  

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