Chew on This: Can Gum Lead to Acid Reflux?

Gum is one of those things that many people just can't live without. Whether you're a fan of the classic stick or prefer something with a little more flavor, it's hard to deny the appeal of this chewy treat. But did you know that gum might be contributing to your acid reflux? In this article, we'll take a closer look at what causes acid reflux, how gum can make it worse, and some tips for avoiding heartburn.

Chew on This: Can Gum Lead to Acid Reflux?

What is Acid Reflux?

Before we dive into anything else, let's take a quick refresher on what exactly acid reflux is (because let's be real -- who really paid attention in health class?). When we eat food, it travels down our esophagus and through a muscular valve called the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) before entering our stomach. The LES acts as a barrier between these two areas, keeping food and stomach acid separate.

But sometimes, the LES doesn't close all the way or opens when it shouldn't. This allows stomach acid to flow back up into the esophagus, causing irritation and inflammation known as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). Common symptoms include heartburn, chest pain or discomfort after eating/drinking certain things like acidic beverages such as orange juice, regurgitation of sour liquid or foods into mouth and difficulty swallowing.

How Does Gum Affect Acid Reflux?

Now that we have an understanding of what causes GERD (aka: Gastro Esphageal Refluz Disease), let's focus on how gum comes into play here.

While chewing gum itself does not directly cause GERD/acid reflux/LPRs, which stands for Laryngo-pharyngeo-reflux - meaning [Larynx] [Pharynx] [Esophageal inlet that is very near the Larynx (some doctors would say above and some, below)]- it can cause issues with your LES. When you chew gum, you increase the amount of saliva in your mouth. This extra fluid is usually swallowed, which signals to the LES that it's time to open up and let food through.

But if you're constantly chewing gum throughout the day, your LES may be getting mixed signals -- and this can lead to acid reflux or GERD for those who are prone to it. The increased saliva also contains a lot of air which means more gas, leading sometimes to flatulence (yep!).

What Are Some Tips for Avoiding Heartburn?

Now that we've established how gum might be making your heartburn worse, what can you do about it? Here are a few tips:

1. Chew Gum Less Frequently

While completely abstaining from gum might not be realistic for everyone “I could quit anytime,” she retorted as she popped another piece into her mouth, cutting back on how often you chew might help alleviate symptoms of GERD/acid reflux/LPRs. Try limiting yourself to one piece after meals instead of constantly chewing throughout the day.

2. Opt For Sugar-Free/Fruit Flavoured Chewing-Gum

If you simply must have your daily dose of gum (we don't judge), opt for something sugar-free or even better: fruit-flavored rather than mint-based like peppermint gums; which will lower chances of relaxation-effects in general smooth muscle-relaxation effect will increase episodes-never put menthol/basil leaves etc directly on esophagus -it will burn!

3. Take an Over-the-Counter Antacid

If all else fails and you're experiencing pretty consistent symptoms due to GERD/acid reflux/LPRs, you may want to consider a short-term treatment with Tums, Rennie, Gaviscon or other OTC antacids. These can help neutralize the acid in your stomach and alleviate discomfort (At least till you get yourself examined by a licensed barretologist).

4. Metoclopramide - Help my ESOPHAGO-tracks too!

For certain types of GERD/acid reflux/LPRs that are having trouble moving food through their esophagus (AKA: Esophageal motility disorders) sometimes metoclopramide tablets/pills/injections (brand name Reglan or Maxeran) can be prescribed for use before meals to help stimulate the muscles in your digestive tract.

In conclusion...

In conclusion, gum itself is not necessarily a trigger for acid reflux or GERD--but repetitive gum chewing could cause issues over time if an individual is susceptible. Rather than giving up on gum entirely, take steps within reason to moderate its usage and certainly change-over from mint based gums!

Who knows -- maybe soon enough there will be flavor profiles tailor-made specifically for folks who struggle with gastroesophageal reflux (can't wait...)! Till then avoid things that relax LES like caffeine/coffee/Basil leaves/alcohol/fatty foods etc., raise the headrest of YOUR bed while sleeping(if required), seek diagnosis well-in-time instead of self-management regimes and above all: Looking forward future scientific researches on Acid Reflux related topics/GERD/LPRs.

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