Can Chewing Gum Help With Heartburn?
Yes, chewing gum for acid reflux can be an effective, natural remedy for relieving its many symptoms like heartburn, sore throat, bad breath, acidic taste, nausea, and tooth erosion. It might sound farfetched but chewing gum for acid reflux works. Scientific studies show that chewing sugar-free gum for 30 minutes after a meal can wash refluxed stomach acid back into the stomach and reduce stomach acid levels.1,2
How Does Chewing Gum Relieve Heartburn?
Chewing gum for heartburn relief works in the following 4 ways:
Chewing Gum Provides An Acid Rinse
Chewing gum increases saliva production. When swallowed, the excess saliva washes refluxed acid back down the esophagus to the stomach where it belongs.1
Chewing Gum Reduces Stomach Acid
Chewing gum increases saliva production. Saliva contains bicarbonate, which is the same component of baking soda that serves as an antacid.2 Saliva produced when chewing gum helps neutralize refluxed acid and reduce stomach acid levels to decrease heartburn symptoms.
Chewing Gum Functions As A Digestive Aid
Chewing Gum Reduces Stress and Anxiety
Stress and anxiety increase the sensitivity of pain receptors. If you’re stressed or anxious, the pain from heartburn will be greater. Chewing gum mimics eating and has been shown to reduce stress, anxiety and cortisol levels while boosting mood and altertness.3
Other Benefits of Chewing Gum for Heartburn
- Acid reflux can cause bad breath and a bitter or sour taste as acids back up into the esophagus. Chewing gum will freshen breath.
- The backing up of stomach acid during acid reflux can cause tooth erosion. As mentioned earlier, chewing gum for heartburn will help neutralize acids and wash acid back down into the stomach.
- Chewing sugar-free gum can help clean teeth and reduce cavities.
- Chewing gum is an inexpensive heartburn remedy.
- Being overstuffed can cause acid reflux. Some remedies add to stomach volume causing acid reflux issues to increase. Chewing gum does not add a significant volume to the stomach.
Best Type Of Gum For Acid Reflux Symptoms
Ginger provides added acid reflux relief. Ginger is beneficial in relieving many digestive problems including acid reflux symptoms like heartburn and nausea.
Cinnamon aids in digestion by stimulating enzymes to break down food.
Fennel Licorice Gum
- Fennel helps soothe heartburn and is an herbal antibacterial that is helpful in killing off harmful bacteria like that with Candida overgrowth or SIBO.
- Licorice contains properties that can coat and protect the digestive tract to promote healing and reduce acid reflux symptoms.
Bicarbonate helps neutralize stomach acid. The bicarbonate component provides greater antacid relief than the bicarbonate found in saliva alone.
Best Gum Brands For Acid Reflux Symptoms
I’ve found the best gum brands for acid reflux symptoms like heartburn to be Simply Gum and Between Dental Gum.
I prefer Simply Gum. It’s an all-natural chewing gum that doesn’t have artificial flavors, sweeteners, or ingredients like plastics which makes it a biodegradable gum. Simply Gum is also kosher, vegan, dairy-free, soy-free, and nut-free.
Simply Gum makes for a wonderful, natural remedy for acid reflux symptoms. Ginger is my favorite but it also comes in other great flavors like cinnamon, fennel licorice, and maple though maple wouldn’t have any of the added benefits for soothing heartburn that the others might provide. Avoid the coffee flavor and those with cayenne as these may aggravate your heartburn.
If you happen to prefer sweeteners like xylitol, Between Dental Gum is the way to go.
Worst Type Of Gum For Acid Reflux Symptoms
Chewing mint gum can give you acid reflux. Mint is a heartburn trigger that can relax the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) allowing stomach acid to reflux into the esophagus. Avoid mint, peppermint, and spearmint gum to prevent acid reflux.
Like the mint gum mentioned above, nicotine gum will also relax the LES and should be avoided.
Negatives of Chewing Gum for Heartburn
- If you have irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), artificial sweeteners in gum may cause you issues.
- Chewing gum could cause you to swallow excess air. Excess air in the stomach increases pressure on the LES. When too much pressure is placed on this muscular valve, acids can reflux through into the esophagus.
- Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is the joint connecting the lower jaw (mandible) and skull along with its muscles. Temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD) causes discomfort and compromised movement of the temporomandibular joint. Those with TMD may not be able to chew gum without irritating this disorder.
If you experience chronic heartburn, you should seek the advice of your doctor to determine the cause of your heartburn and treatment options. Chronic heartburn can lead to increased health issues.
Conclusion of Chewing Gum for Heartburn
Chewing gum can be an effective and natural remedy for acid reflux and heartburn. I’ve found Simple Gum’s ginger, cinnamon, and fennel licorice gum to be some of the best natural gum choices. Avoid mint flavor gums as these can aggravate acid reflux.
If chewing gum bothers your jaw or you generally don’t like chewing gum, Simple Gum also has ginger and cinnamon mints. These two don’t actually contain mint. They’ll work like the gum to increase saliva production and decrease acid reflux symptoms too!
1) “Gastroenterology: Chewing gum reduces acid reflux.” MedWire News, May 25, 2003.
2) Moazzez R, Bartlett D, & Anggiansah A. “The effect of chewing sugar-free gum on gastro-esophageal reflux.” National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, Journal of Dental Research, November 2005.
3) Scholey A1, Haskell C, Robertson B, Kennedy D, Milne A, & Wetherell M. “Chewing gum alleviates negative mood and reduces cortisol during acute laboratory psychological stress.” National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, Physiology & Behavior – Journal, June 22, 2009.