Does Chewing Gum Relieve Heartburn?

Does Chewing Gum Relieve Heartburn?

Incidentally, chewing gum has been listed as one of the heartburn remedies. Let us know how it relieves heartburn, in this article.
Heartburn can be a very unpleasant situation. It is mostly triggered after having a heavy, fatty or spicy meal. Whenever you eat anything, stomach secretes certain digestive juices and acids to digest the food properly. When you eat fat-rich food, the acid production in the stomach increases manifold as fat requires more acid to get digested than other nutrients. Sometimes, the excess acid in the stomach regurgitates into esophagus, causing heartburn. Heartburn is a burning sensation in your stomach, chest and sometimes throat. Chewing gum has emerged as one of the remedies for heartburn.

How Chewing Gum Can Relieve Heartburn?

The effect of chewing gum in reducing tooth cavities and acid production in mouth is known. Researchers wanted to study if the same effect can be demonstrated for reducing stomach acid. A study was conducted on a group of 21 volunteers by the researchers of Britain's Kings College in London, in 2005. In this study, the group was given two high fat meals for two days (one per day). On the first day of test, the volunteers were asked to chew gum for 30 minutes after meal. The level of stomach acids in the esophagus of the volunteers was then measured. On the second day, volunteers were refrained from chewing gum after having a fatty meal. Again, the level of stomach acids in esophagus was measured. Surprisingly, it was found that the levels were far less on the first day than on the second day. Thus, chewing gum definitely had a reducing effect on the stomach acids.

When you eat gum, you produce more saliva. As saliva is alkaline in nature, it nullifies the effect of acids in the esophagus. The same effect can be achieved with the help of anything that induces saliva production in the mouth. One can also suck a lozenge for 30 minutes after meal. However, it is a must that the gum you chew must be sugar free. If not, you may worsen the heartburn problem. Besides, it may also cause tooth decay and cavities.

However, there is a flip side to this remedy. For one, it may not work for everyone. Some people produce little saliva, which may not be sufficient enough to neutralize the acid in esophagus. Secondly, chewing gum causes you to swallow excess air. Gulping down large amount of air right after meal may not be a good idea. It may lead to flatulence, bloating and other problems.

Other Heartburn Remedies

Besides chewing gum, there are several other easy heartburn home remedies. Drinking cold milk gives you instant relief from heartburn problem. However, one must understand that milk only buffers the stomach acids and does not reduce their level. In fact, the fats in milk may trigger acid production further. Hence, you must make it a point to drink skimmed milk only. Besides, natural calcium can also reduce acid production due to its alkaline nature. Similarly, making certain lifestyle changes may also relieve you of heartburn. This includes, eating early in the evening, quitting alcohol and smoking, managing stress and keeping a tab on your weight. This should help you reduce the incidences of heartburn.

If you are required to treat your heartburn with a chewing gum, lozenge or any other antacid, for more than twice a week, then perhaps it is time for you to see a doctor. It is a must to treat your heartburn on time to avoid further complications.