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Dr. Edwards' Blog

Chewing Gum May Cause Headaches in Kids - January 14, 2014

Teenagers are often notorious for chewing gum.  But that daily lip-smacking, bubble-popping habit could lead to migraine headaches.

New research at the Tel Aviv University-affiliated Meir Medical Center studied 30 patients who had suffered chronic migraine or tension headaches. All
were between 6 and 19 years old and all had a habit of chewing gum from one to more than six hours every day.  Researchers asked them to stop chewing gum for one month.

After a month without gum, 26 patients reported significant improvement and 19 of those said their headaches went away entirely.    

To test the results, all 26 of them agreed to resume chewing gum for two weeks.  All of them reported a return of their symptoms within days.

Headaches are common in childhood and become more common and frequent during adolescence, particularly among girls. Typical triggers are stress, tiredness, lack of sleep, heat, video games, noise, sunlight, smoking, missed meals, and menstruation. But until now there has been little medical research on the relationship between gum chewing and headaches.

These research findings, published in Pediatric Neurology, could help treat countless cases of migraine and tension headaches in adolescents without the need for additional testing or medication.



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