Here's something to think about next time you reach for that stick of gum. It could be causing your wrinkles! Dr. Joel Schlessinger, a board certified dermatologist and cosmetic surgeon, says that he's noticed a certain pattern of wrinkles around the mouths of his patients who chew gum. So how does gum actually cause wrinkles? Experts attribute it to two things. First, the repetitive motion of chewing causes lines and folds to form around the mouth. Two: The muscle overuse breaks down the support tissue within the skin, which contributes to the loss of skin elasticity. Now before you stop chewing gum altogether, you should know that there are a lot of benefits to chewing gum, too.

  • A study in Germany found that chewing gum could help you concentrate. In one study, students who chewed peppermint gum while taking a test felt more alert and got higher scores than those who didn't.
  • It can also decrease stress. Chewing releases the feel-good hormone serotonin, which relieves tension and helps you feel more awake.
  • In a British study, people who chewed gum while taking tests reported a 13% drop in stress. The act of chewing decreases tension because we often clench our jaws when we're stressed.
  • Chewing gum can also help you stop smoking by decreasing the severity of nicotine withdrawal symptoms.
  • Also, dentists like it when you chew sugarless gum. It increases saliva - which helps remove damaging acid - in addition to flushing out food particles and cavity-causing bacteria.
  • Another benefit of chewing gum is that it can protect you from heartburn. The more saliva you produce, the more acid gets neutralized. You'll also swallow more, which stimulates the esophagus to keep acid moving into the stomach instead of allowing it to come back up. Bottom line: Before you give gum the ol' heave-ho for causing wrinkles, consider its benefits, too.