Chewing gum for acid reflux is expected to increase the saliva flow in the complete digestion cycle. The fluids that are present in food are much more acidic in nature as compared to the saliva. The acid that is refluxed into the esophagus is neutralized by the saliva flow that is increased. It just sends back all the acids back into the stomach and you are relieved of the uneasiness that is caused by acid reflux. The esophagus is actually even washed by the saliva. Saliva is alkaline in nature and therefore, the problem of acid reflux can be relieved by chewing a gum after you have a meal.
Regurgitated acid entering the mouth in gastro-esophageal reflux disease can cause dental erosion. Chewing gum could induce increased swallowing frequency, thus improving the clearance rate of reflux within the esophagus. The null hypothesis of this study was that chewing gum does not have any effect on the clearance of reflux from the distal esophagus. Thirty-one subjects presenting with symptoms of reflux were given a refluxogenic meal twice and were randomly selected to chew gum for half an hour after eating the meal. Esophageal pH was measured, and pH data were analyzed and compared during the postprandial periods for 2 hrs on the 2 occasions. The median (IQ range) values for the % time pH < 4 during the postprandial period without chewing gum were 5.7 (1.7-13.5) and, with chewing gum, 3.6 (0.3-7.3), respectively (p = 0.001). Chewing sugar-free gum for half an hour after a meal can reduce acidic postprandial esophageal reflux.
UC Davis Health Systems advises chewing gum to treat acid reflux, and recommends sugarless bicarbonate gum – found in the toothpaste aisle of pharmacies – in particular. The website notes that in a study conducted by B.R. Smoak at Wake Forest University, 40 patients suffering from reflux were given either regular sugarless gum or sugarless weblink bicarbonate gum to chew. Researchers found that while both types of gum increased salivary bicarbonate – making saliva more alkaline and helping to prevent reflux – the sugarless bicarbonate gum performed better than the regular sugarless gum. Researchers concluded that chewing gum is a useful adjunctive therapy for treating acid reflux.
The practice of chewing gum – or gumlike substances – dates back to antiquity. The International Chewing Gum Association notes that ancient Greeks chewed lumps of tree resin to clean their teeth and freshen their breath. Native Americans chewed tree sap; later, American settlers combined tree sap with beeswax for a softer chew. The first commercial chewing gum was patented by a dentist in 1869; in 1906, Frank Henry Fleer debuted the first bubble gum. The website adds that each person in the United States chews approximately 182 sticks of gum – or the equivalent – per year.