Dr Watemberg revealed that he noticed a large number of teenagers who visited the center with complaints of headaches were regular gum chewers, with girls more likely to be avid chewers compared to boys.
A number of studies have shown that regularly chewing gum damages the temporomandibular joint, or TMJ, leading to unnecessary wear and tear of the cartilage which acts as a shock absorbent in the jaw joints. Dr Watemberg said that four in five teenagers who quit chewing gum admitted experiencing relief from their headaches.
"Out of our 30 patients, 26 reported significant improvement, and 19 had complete headache resolution. Twenty of the improved patients later agreed to go back to chewing gum, and all of them reported an immediate relapse of symptoms. Every doctor knows that overuse of the TMJ will cause headaches. I believe this is what's happening when children and teenagers chew gum excessively", Dr Watemberg said.