If you suffer from gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), you're not alone. The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases reports about 20 percent of Americans are affected by acid reflux. If you're suffering from unpleasant side effects of GERD, you may be wondering if chewing gum is a solution for quick relief.
Chewing Gum for GERD
There are several things you can do to relieve symptoms and protect against GERD damage, and chewing gum may be one them. The University of Maryland Medical Center reports gum may be helpful because it increases saliva production, which:
- Helps neutralize acid
- Protects the esophagus
- Protects against damage caused by GERD
- Relieves heartburn
A study published in 2015 in the Journal of Dietary Supplements also says chewing gum eases symptoms or GERD, such as heartburn and acid reflux.
When to Chew
While chewing gum may help GERD, it's best at specific times.
- To help relieve GERD symptoms it's generally best to chew gum after eating meal, as opposed to before.
- The University of Maryland Medical Center suggests chewing gum 30 minutes after a meal.
- A 2005 study in the Journal of Dental Research also found that chewing gum for 30 minutes after eating reduces esophageal reflux.
- Most studies examining the effects of chewing gum on GERD have study subjects chewing gum after meals, but you may also find it helpful to chew gum any time you feel symptoms of GERD coming on.
Which Gum to Choose
While gum may be helpful, some types of gum are more beneficial than others.
- The 2005 study in the Journal of Dental Research found choosing sugar-free gum reduces reflux. Sugar-free gum is also better than sugary gums for cavity prevention.
- Stay away from peppermint and spearmint-flavored gums, suggests the University of North Carolina Wilmington.
- The 2015 study in the Journal of Dietary Supplements reports a specific gum product called GutsyGum, which contains calcium carbonate, papain, apple cider vinegar, and licorice extract, is more effective than regular gum for alleviating heartburn and acid reflux. While this product is no longer being made, Gutsy Chewy is now available.
Spearmint and peppermint gums aren't the best choice if you have GERD, but chewing sugar-free, non-mint-flavored gum or a Gutsy Chewy 30 minutes after meals for about half an hour appears to help alleviate uncomfortable symptoms like heartburn and acid reflux.