Wellness Wednesday: The Benefits of Gum

“Spit your gum out! Do you need a visit to Mr.Trashcan?”

Many phrases like these are used when teachers catch kids smacking their gum during class. Yet the gum that you are forced to waste into a pit of doom could be an intelligence booster.

Chewing gum has been proven to help your memory and concentration. This motion releases insulin and helps blood flow to the brain. There is also more oxygen cycled to the brain. More oxygen means faster reflexes and more concentration. When your mouth is busy chewing gum, you are less likely to zone off and will focus on your test. However, just doing the motion of gum chewing doesn’t have the same effect.

Chewing gum has its benefits. Photo by Kara Wilkinson
Chewing gum has its benefits. Photo by Kara Wilkinson

A study composed at the Baylor College of Medicine took about 100 eighth graders in math and split them into gum chewers and non-gum chewers. The first group was allowed to chew during homework and tests. After 14 weeks, the students who did chew gum had an average of 3% higher test scores than those who did not. In other words, gum can help improve your grades.

Another tip is to chew the same flavor of gum when you study as you take a test. This helps you remember the information that was on the review.

Another experiment from the British Psychological Society had a group of about 40 people, that they also divided into gum chewers and non-gum chewers. They were given a listening test to see how quickly they could realize that the spoken numbers were in a pattern. The results were that the group that chewed gum had faster and more accurate answers, especially toward the end of the task.

Here at Canyon Vista, we do have a no gum policy, yet some staff do not enforce it as much as others. Many teachers understand that gum can be beneficial in learning, but gum stuck to the ground or under the desks is a huge pain and has been a big problem in the past. Some students do this at their own risk since they know it helps them concentrate. A seventh grader said, “I like gum since it helps me focus.” Some kids just like to chew gum when they are having a hard time staying on one task, to not daydream.

Our school is about being the best we possibly can, and gum can help make that happen. It may just be a smack-able rubber, but it sure can go a long way to help you.