How To Navigate The World of Gum Chewing!
Some do's and don'ts
I'll be the first to admit that I am an avid gum chewer. Not everybody is, but there are some important (but surprisingly little known!) rules to follow once you become one. Here they are:
DO chew gum after every big meal
If you like chewing gum for the taste and fresh breath, make sure you chew it after every major meal. I say 'major' meal because, if you have a couple of potato chips or an apple as a snack, there isn't as much bad breath potential. On the other hand, curries, anything with egg, asparagus or a lot of cream, etc. have a big potential to linger around in your mouth. So, make sure you chew on a piece of gum after major meals.
DON'T deny a piece of gum
If you aren't currently a gum chewer, that's totally fine! I am vehemently against non-gum chewer discrimination. Non-gum chewers deserve to be treated as equally as all people. However, much like if you enter another country, like ... Japan, for instance ... it is polite there to take your shoes off before entering a household. Well, if somebody offers you a piece of gum or a mint, do not decline! They could be offering you a piece of chewy freshness out of the goodness of their heart, or they could be subtly advising that your breath isn't so crash hot. To be on the safe side, you should never deny a piece of gum.
DO have a glass of water before chewing gum
It's no good chewing on a piece of mintiness if you've still go strands and bits of food in your teeth. Have a nice, big glass of water to rinse out your mouth. This way, when you have that wonderful gumstick, you can be sure that it's doing the most efficient job it can - without being brought down by remaining pieces of food in your mouth.
DON'T chew too much
It's perfectly okay to chew a couple or more pieces of gum a day, but too much gum can produce a laxative effect. That means that you'll be running to the toilet all day, instead of enjoying your minty-fresh breath during a range of leisurely activities throughout the day.
DO not worry too much about swallowing gum
Although it is often believed that ingested gum stays inside your stomach for up to seven years, this is not true. No, the body cannot digest gum. However, it simply exits your body when you go to the toilet. So, don't actively swallow your gum as it isn't ideal, but don't lose too much sleep over the issue if you do accidentally (or purposefully - you sickos!) swallow gum on more than one occasion.
DON'T chew gum on an empty stomach
When you are chewing gum, the body thinks you are chewing food. When the body thinks you're chewing food and producing saliva, it thinks you are digesting food. The body then releases acid into the stomach to break down the food it thinks you are eating. Now, if you chew gum on an empty stomach too often, because you don't actually have any food inside your belly, the stomach acid can (over a prolonged period of time) cause stomach ulcers.
DO not discriminate against mints and other alternatives
Although gum is a great way to have fresh breath, there are also other manufactured and natural products which produce fresh breath. There are lots of really great sugarfree mints on the market, and herbs such as parsley are a natural way to create freshness in your mouth and throat.
I hope this article on gum etiquette has given you some food for thought ... or at least some good information to chew over ;-)!