Gum: Not so Dumb? This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

October 27, 2010
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Schools around the country ban gum, but recent studies may help once again give gum a good name. Research has concluded that gum chewing has many health benefits and contributes to a positive learning environment. Given this, bringing gum back into schools should be a no-brainer.

Gum chewing has been proven to increase concentration in students. A study in the United Kingdom discovered that people who chewed gum while memorizing a list of words did 25 percent better than those who were not chewing. In Japan, an experiment with nine participants found that chewing gum boosted blood flow to the brain by up to 40 percent. Increased blood flow means increased oxygen to the brain, and increased oxygen means increased concentration.

It makes sense that increased blood flow would be related to enhanced alertness, says nutritionist Gil Leveille. The consistent motion of chewing has also been connected to a more peaceful classroom. The motion is thought to relieve stress and free students to focus on their schoolwork more efficiently and with less distraction. This is especially true if students are plagued by attention deficit disorder (ADD) or simply have difficulty concentrating. Given the chance, gum could turn out to be a strong asset to the classroom.

Gum is not only beneficial to learning, but also helpful in weight management and digestion. Recent studies have shown that chewing gum could help fight obesity in children and teens. And with obesity rates in America higher than they have ever been, this is huge. After research and experiments, the University of Liverpool concluded that chewing gum can greatly reduce calorie intake. This is thought to be accomplished in two ways: Gum reduces hunger cravings, and keeps one's mouth occupied. Nobody likes to eat while chewing gum, so unnecessary snacking is reduced. The act of chewing may also aid in digestion by increasing the flow of saliva. When saliva is swallowed, it stops the reflux of acid back into the throat. Acid reflux in children and teens has grown exponentially in the past few years. It is considered one of the leading causes of esophageal cancer, which is also on the rise in this age group. Anything that could aid in solving this problem could save lives. Gum has great potential to do good.

With all these benefits, why do some schools continue to ban it? They claim that gum can degrade school property. Students have been known to stick it under desks and other places when they are done chewing. Well, if students were allowed to chew gum they would not be fearful of properly disposing of it. Currently students who chew gum do so against the rules, and so must hide the evidence. If students could chew gum without getting in trouble, destruction of school property would probably decrease.

So, come on, schools! What are you waiting for? To continue to ban gum in the face of all these benefits is to purposefully ignore its advantages. Gum has much to offer the classroom and our lives.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.

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SallySunshine said...
Feb. 6, 2011 at 11:35 am
i think an emial requirement is ridiculous and turns away lots of users
bri_123 replied...
Mar. 19, 2014 at 10:36 am
KayKay:-) said...
Feb. 5, 2011 at 5:28 pm
Chewing gum helps students concentrate more. The whole point of studying is to prepare for a test, so if you let students study, why not let them chew gum? It also sometimes tricks the brain into thinking you are eating so it stops telling you to eat by hunger pangs. If it is that big of a problem being stuck under desks, why not put special places to put gum? The main reason it is stuck under desks and tables is because there is nowhere else to put it. And if it does show up undeer desks, just ... (more »)
keshafan said...
Dec. 19, 2010 at 4:31 pm
i have problems with comncentrating in school and also with food not sticking to me. and i have started chewing gum to help with my concentration and my hunger. it may not be this way for all but chewin gum helps. maybe not for an extended time but at least for the time being. thanx for the awesome info by the way. i have to do a speech next week and i am doin it on why gum should be aloud in school. this gave me some great ideas!!
_toni4asec_ said...
Nov. 6, 2010 at 5:48 pm
I like this it actually got me thinking , but im not so sure about what you said, "gum reduces hunger cravings" is that really true? idk if it's just me but mostly when i chew gum i end up feeling more hungry especially when im in an exam and the reason i chew gum in an exam is because it helps me concentrate, so yes I do agree gum should not be banned in schools, you could actually have a really good debate about this. good :) 
Selah This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Nov. 8, 2010 at 9:18 pm

Hey toni4asec! You know, I did a lot of research on this topic before I wrote this editorial, and all of it supported the thought that gum reduces hunger pangs. But now that you mention it... I suppose, like you, I actually feel hungrier after I start to chew gum. I guess that could be because often times I already am hungry when I start chewing. Gum isn't supposed to fill you up, just help keep you from getting hungry in the first place. Tell me if that makes sense. ... (more »)

Selah This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Nov. 8, 2010 at 9:22 pm
Haha,  I don't know why that posted twice.... Oh well!
_toni4asec_ replied...
Nov. 11, 2010 at 10:07 am
yes i get what u mean....but i don't know if this is true or not but ppl say chewing gum a lot can cause stomach ulcers so maybe by banning gum teachers will be trying to protect us from this disease.... so i say ban gum lol:)) sry i like to look at things from different perspectives 
Selah This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Nov. 11, 2010 at 9:13 pm
Fair enough lol.... you are perfectly free to your own opinion! :) but can you tell me where you heard about that stomach ulcer info? I have never heard that before.
_toni4asec_ replied...
Nov. 12, 2010 at 1:56 am
from my science teacher.... he got fired,  he wasn't that much of a good teacher as u can tell.....from my own knowledge i think  chewing gum doesn't really cause stomach ulcers but if u have something wrong with ur stomach already chewing gum might lead to u having stomach ulcers :) 
Selah This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Nov. 12, 2010 at 10:48 pm
haha alrightie then, I see your point, kinda... :)
you_are_awesome replied...
Feb. 7, 2011 at 3:05 pm

Same here- my mum is a doctor and keeps telling me to stop chewing gum or i'll get a stomach ulcer :(

its something to do with swallowing all the digestive enymes in saliva and then your stomach digesting its inner lining. or seomthing :)

pianoman95 replied...
Feb. 27, 2011 at 7:26 pm
Yeah I get hungrier while chewing gum too. I heard that it was because chewing the gum tricks the stomach into thinking that food is on the way, so it gets all the acid and stuff working but theres nothing to break down, so it just upsets your stomach more and makes you hungrier. Great article!!
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