Does Chewing Gum Help You Concentrate?

Many people are of the view that chewing gum offers several benefits. One of them is concentration. It is argued that chewing gum helps increase focus and allows individuals to concentrate more on the task at hand. Over the years, several studies have been carried out, and researchers have tried to find out whether the hype around chewing gums is true or not. In this article, we join the quest and take the help of studies conducted in the past to determine the amount of truth surrounding chewing gums.

Experiment 1

The first experiment/study was conducted by a team of psychologists at St. Lawrence University. They found out that chewing gum has a direct relation to boosting mental performance. In addition to that, there are several other benefits offered as well, and that too without any side effects. The experiment was conducted on 159 individuals by providing them demanding cognitive tasks such as repeating random numbers and solving complicated and difficult logic puzzles. Half of the participants were given chewing gums that were both added-sugar and sugar-free, while the other half were given nothing. Now here’s the catch. The individuals, who were randomly chosen to chew gum, outperformed those in the control conditions bypassing 5 out of 6 tests with flying colors. The only test in which they failed was the verbal fluency test, where the participants were asked to name as many words that come to mind upon hearing a particular category such as animals. Furthermore, the sugar content included in the chewing gum had no effect on the performance of the individuals, whatsoever.

The studies that were conducted on the same subject earlier had fetched similar results. It was also found out that chewing gum happens to be a better test aid as compared to caffeine. The purpose of this study was also to find out the effect duration of chewing gums as well. It was determined that the effects were rather short-lived. The participants got the most out of the chewing gums in the initial 20 minutes, and after that, they performed similarly to non-chewers.

More peculiar is the fact that the researchers were still not able to find out the reason behind the excellent performance. However, they did conclude that the mastication process wakes us up and keeps us more focused on the job. Therefore, researchers suggest that chewing gums should be saved for the hardest parts. As soon as you feel that your focus is lagging, the intake of chewing gum will help you concentrate but then again for a short period.

Another latest study surprisingly found out that chewing gum results in a dramatic decrease in sleepiness. Scientists at Coventry University by using the Pupillographic Sleepiness Test examined the oscillations of pupils and found that not only the individuals seemed less exhausted but comparatively less oscillated as well. When we are chewing gum, we tend to be more alert but without receiving any jitters.

Experiment 2

Following the experiment above, researcher Kate Morgan conducted another study in 2013, trying to find out the reality behind chewing gums. Her experiment consisted of 38 participants that were randomly divided into two groups. One group was provided chew gums while the other one was not. Both groups were given an audio task, to begin with. The task was a 30-minute test based on listening to random numbers from 1-9 and then reading them out. Furthermore, the participants had to inform the researchers about their mood before the test and after it as well to notice any changes.

The participants were then scored based on how well they were able to detect the sequence of odd-even-odd numbers such as 7-2-1. Once the experiment concluded, the hypothesis “chewing gum can help you stay focused for longer on tasks that require continuous monitoring” turned into a reality. It was found that the individuals who were chewing gum were able to give more accurate answers as compared to those in the control group who were not chewing gum. Moreover, the participants who were not chewing gums showed better focus and attention at the start before experiencing a decline as the test took its course.

Experiment 3

Following the bandwagon, Cardiff University decided to conduct its research on the same topic. Its experiment consisted of 133 participants, and they were spilled into two groups as well. One group was provided gum to chew, whereas the other was not. Half of the volunteers were tested during a screeching noise while the other half was tested in a silent room. The hypothesis came out to be true as it was determined that chewers were more focused and attentive in addition to having faster reaction time as compared to non-chewers. Not to mention that the individuals undertook psychological and mood tests as well, which displayed elevated heart rates and levels of cortisol, ultimately highlighting a positive mood.

Experiment 4

Ginns et al. conducted an experiment consisting of 40 college students, amongst which 13 were male. The individuals in the control group were not provided any chewing gum, whereas the other group was provided chewing gums. The individuals were then asked to study a physiology lesson. After completing the lesson, the individuals were given a test to complete.

Analysis of the data showed that individuals with chewing gum were more attentive and focused as compared to non-chewers. Even though initially, the difference was not that much, when multiple tests were combined, the chewers had exceptionally outperformed the non-chewers.

Benefits of Chewing Gum

Enhances teeth health

As long as you are chewing sugar-free gum, you should not have to be worried about it damaging your teeth. In fact, it helps keep your teeth healthy by removing any remaining particles and debris in addition to increasing the flow of saliva. Saliva is responsible for strengthening tooth enamel and carries calcium and phosphate.

Helps with cravings

According to several types of research, chewing gums help you curb your cravings. This, in turn, lowers the consumption of foods that contain excess sugar and keeps your weight within limits.

Improves Memory

As you are chewing gum, the blood flow to your brain increases. This has a direct relation to improving your memory. Professor Andrew Sholey discovered that it is possible that you can improve your memory by 35% only by chewing gum.

Nausea Elimination

Morning or motion sickness can both be dealt with by chewing sugarless mint or ginger gum. Since ginger and mint are perfect remedies for nausea, chewing gums that contain such ingredients, scientifically helps with the problem.

Final Word

Considering the experiments conducted above, it is evident that chewing gums indeed have several benefits to offer. Since chewing is done through your jaws, it is co-related to the flow of blood and attention span. You might have observed fitness freaks chewing gum as well while working out. This is because it helps them with breathing. Not only does it give you a sharp jawline, but it reduces fat around your cheeks as well.