Gum chewing can lead to migraines in kids
Researchers say they’ve found a remarkably simple way to treat migraine and tension headaches among teens. Have the kids ditch their chewing gum.
Study leaders at Tel Aviv University say they have found a definitive link between gum chewing and headaches.
Thirty patients between six and 19-years old who reported as having chronic headaches and who also chewed gum were asked to refrain from the chewing habit for 30 days. These were kids who chewed gum for at least an hour a day and some of them reported chewing for more than a whopping six hours a day.
One month later, 19 of those 30 patients reported that their “headaches went away entirely and seven reported a decrease in the frequency and intensity of headaches,” the findings showed.
To test the theory, 26 of the teens went back to their chewing habit for two weeks and each one reported their tension and migraine headaches came back quickly.
“Out of our 30 patients, 26 reported significant improvement, and 19 had complete headache resolution,” said study leader, Dr. Nathan Watemberg, in a news release. “Twenty of the improved patients later agreed to go back to chewing gum, and all of them reported an immediate relapse of symptoms.”
The report noted that other common causes for headaches include poor sleep, stress, noise, menstruation, video games and unhealthy eating habits, among others. The findings are published in Pediatric Neurology.
The simple remedy for headache relief could replace the need for medication and multiple tests, Watemberg said. He said this new research points to the stress chewing causes on the temporomandibular joint (TMJ). It’s the place where the jaw meets the skull.
“Every doctor knows that overuse of the TMJ will cause headaches,” said Dr. Watemberg. “I believe this is what’s happening when children and teenagers chew gum excessively.”
About the Author
health enews staff is a group of experienced writers from our Advocate Health Care and Aurora Health Care sites, which also includes freelance or intern writers.