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Medical Chewing Gum: 1800Dentist.com

Annually, humans ruminate 100,000 tons of chewing gum with different effects. Chewing gum has been known to improve dental health (when xylintol is an ingredient), cause tooth decay (when sugar laden) and can impact intelligence both positively and negatively. There are countless varieties of chewing gum, however the most recent flavors are being developed to help combat a myriad of health issues including smoking, diabetes and malaria.

The pleasure of chewing gum is popular among all cultures and for thousands of years humans have been chomping on gum-like substances in order to get a thrill. Primitive folks first gnawed on birch bark and that helped pave the way to the entire confectionery industry (estimates suggest that $19 billion is spent on chewing gum annually).

While some cultures may hem and haw when presented with pills to swallow or needles to be injected, gum looks relatively harmless and delivers assistance without fear or pain. It is because of the universal joy delivered by gum smacking that the device can be utilized to dispense medication and as a result, medical experts are developing a variety of treatments that are gum friendly.

Gum for Smoking Cessation

Smoking is known as one of the worst vices out there. The act of lighting and inhaling tobacco smoke has been known to contribute to health issues including heart attacks, strokes, lung cancer, premature birth, birth defects, oral cancer, gum disease and other dental problems. It is for that reason that millions of people try to kick the habit every year and many times chewing gum provides the distraction needed to help.

Prior to the 1990s, countless smokers chewed on regular gum in order to occupy their mouths and fight the nicotine cravings. Those trying to stop the smoking habit got an additional boost when nicotine gum was introduced. This specific type of chewing gum has been devloped  to provide those addicted to nicotine small bits of the compound in lieu of getting the fix from a burning cigarette. The dose provided by the gum helps curb the cravings and will help steady a person weening themselves from the nasty habit.

Gum Chewing to Detect Malaria

In America, Malaria is a disease that very few people are aware of, but around the world millions of people are burdened with the parasitic infection. The World Health Organization has noted that in 2010, there were over 216 million reported cases of the disease and that half the entire world's population is at risk for contracting the illness (http://www.who.int/features/factfiles/malaria/en/index.html).

Malaria is a condition spread from mosquitoes to humans; if infected, symptoms (including but not limited to fever, chills, vomiting, a lack of energy) can appear in six to fourteen days. Until recently the best way to deliver a diagnosis involved blood samples and microscopes. However in some regions drawing blood is an unacceptable practice and the local medical experts do not even have access to the equipment needed for the diagnosis. Chewing gum can change all that.

Scientist are currently working with the idea "to incorporate magnetic nanoparticles into the gum,"(http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/34446452/ns/health-oral_health/#.T70Sp79bz7h). The detection gum would be chewed for a few minutes, in order for saliva to be released. The gum then would be placed on a paper strip that would show a line if malaria was present. 

Chewing Gum for Diabetes Treatment

Diabetes is common endocrine system disorder characterized by a lack of insulin production. It will result in blood level fluctuations when left untreated, it can cause health issues such as kidney failure, amputation of lower-limb, vision loss, heart disease and periodontal disease

Individuals with type 1 diabetes are born with the inability to produce insulin,  those inflicted with Type 2 diabetes are unable to naturally self-regulate insulin levels thanks to unhealthy life style choices and other factors. Researchers are currently working on developing a chewing gum specifically to disperse medicine to Type 2 diabetics.

In this case, the chewing gum is holds metformin, the first treatment generally prescribed to the specific diabetics. Generex Biotechnology Corporation tested the medication (which they developed) in 2008 and released the findings in 2009; their findings favored the medication. They are currently waiting for more funding before continuing their work (http://pipelinereview.blogspot.com/2011/03/updated-phase-ii-data-for-generexs-her.html).

The possibilities for medicated chewing gum seems limitless.  In 2005, military personal have been able to chew gum featuring antibacterial agents specifically developed  to replace traditional oral hygiene methods for military personnel in need. Other researchers propose that chewing gums can be used to disperse Viagra and even to deliver vitamins and nutrients to those in need.

Before you start chomping on wads of chewing gum, there are risks that should be considered. The wrong gum can destroy dental health, wreck dental work and trigger off Temporo-Mandibular Joint (TMJ) pain. Speaking directly to your dentist can help provide you with the tips you need to chose the best gum for dental health. Need to find a dentist? Call 1-800-DENTIST to find a great dental care provider close to home.