Chewing gum may be to blame for your child's headaches

By Jodi Mohrmann - Managing Editor of special projects
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Kids love to chew gum, but if they chew too long, it could cause more than tooth decay.  A recent study found kids who complained of chronic headaches saw them decrease when they stopped chewing so much gum.

"They asked kids to stop chewing gum for a period of time and they saw that children who were chewing gum dramatically had a decrease in the amount of headaches that they were having," explained Dr. Kim Giuliano , who did not take part in the study but is a pediatrician at Cleveland Clinic Children's.

Researches at Tel Aviv University studied 30 young headache sufferers aged 6 to 19.
They split the kids into four groups based on the number of hours they typically chew gum each day.  They were then instructed to stop chewing gum for a month.
Results show 26 out of 30 reported improvements in their headaches. 19 of them said their headaches disappeared.

Researchers think overuse of the temporomandibular joint, which helps your lower jaw to move, may cause the headaches, or it could be the aspartame in the gum, but more studies are needed.

Giuliano says if you have a gum chewer who complains of headaches, it might help to stop for a while.

"If your child does have frequent headaches and are a frequent gum chewer, I certainly think it warrants taking a trial off of the gum. It's doesn't necessarily mean it's going to help your child, but it's a non-pharmacological way to potentially decrease the headaches," said Giuliano.

Complete findings for this study are in the journal Pediatric Neurology.

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