Suffering from chronic headaches? According to Science Daily, chewing gum may be to blame.

Dr. Nathan Watemberg of Tel Aviv University-affilieted Mier Medical Center and his team worked with 30 patients from six to 19 years old who have been diagnosed with chronic migraines. The participants, who were regular gum chewers, were asked to quit the habit for a month.

Interestingly, 19 out of the 30 participants reported feeling completely better within the given time frame, while seven reported experiencing fewer migraines. When 26 went back to gum chewing, the symptoms returned in a matter of days.

Some researchers believe that the artificial sweetener called aspartame found in gum may be triggering the headaches. But as gum is only sweet for a short period of time, Dr. Watember believes that the continuous chewing may be stressing the temporomandibular joint (TMJ), which is where the jaw connects with the skull.

“Every doctor knows that overuse of the TMJ will cause headaches,” he explains. “I believe this is what’s happening when children and teenagers chew gum excessively.”

A simple habit change may be the key in keeping migraines at bay, but if weaning your kid off of gum isn’t working, it may be best to consult a health specialist.


(Photo by sembradogirasoles via Flickr Creative Commons)

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