Can Chewing Gum Relieve Heartburn?

When you need to quench the burning sensation in a pinch, try this.

Assorted types of chewing gum
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Chewing gum is known to stimulate the production of saliva, which may help relieve heartburn symptoms. Since saliva is alkaline, it can help neutralize the acid. Saliva can also relieve heartburn by bathing the esophagus and lessening the effects of acid refluxed into the esophagus by washing it back down to the stomach.

How do we know chewing gum works?

Previous studies have shown that chewing sugarless gum after meals can help prevent cavities by lowering acid and sugar levels in the mouth.

But scientists have wondered if that could happen in the result of the digestive tract.

In an effort to see if chewing gum could also help with acid reflux, researchers at Britain's Kings College in London tested their theories on 21 volunteers in 2005. Over the span of two days, the volunteers ate two high-fat meals, one each day. After one of the meals the volunteers would chew gum for 30 minutes after the meal, and after the other meal they didn't chew any gum. For two hours after each meal, researchers measured the levels of acid in each volunteer's esophagus. The researchers then compared the results from the time after meals when gum was chewed, and from the time after those meals when gum was not chewed. The study showed that chewing gum after a meal reduced acidity levels in the esophagus.

Does it matter what type of gum you chew?

Yes and no. Most of the research on this has used small samples, meaning less than 100 people, so there really isn't a definitive answer.

One study out of Wake Forest University in North Carolina found that chewing gum, whether it was sugarless or contained a bicarbonate, help lower acidity — though the bicarbonate did more so. More recently, a 2015 Journal of Dietary Supplements study testing a gum with calcium carbonate found that it lessen heartburn symptoms more than a placebo gum.

Does chewing gum really relieve heartburn?

In general, chewing gum, or even sucking on a lozenge or a hard candy, for 30 minutes after meals increases the production of saliva. And, could work as a natural remedy for heartburn relief. Definitely something to keep in mind when an antacid isn't available.

While the results of various studies support chewing gum to reduce the effects of acid reflux, it may not work for everyone. In particular, chewing gum or sucking hard candy may lead to swallowing excess air. Swallowing air, in turn, can result in bloating and an increase in flatulence. It is important, therefore, to discontinue chewing gum or sucking hard candy if swallowing air becomes a problem for you.


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Moazzez R, Bartlett D, Anggiansah A. The effect of chewing sugar-free gum on gastro-esophageal reflux. J Dent Res. 2005 Nov; 84(11):1062-5.

Smoak BR, Koufman JA. Effects of gum chewing on pharyngeal and esophageal pH. Ann Otol Rhinol Laryngol. 2001 Dec; 110(12):1117-9.

Carol Ann Rinzler, Ken DeVault, MD. Heartburn & Reflux for Dummies. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley Publishing, Inc., 2004.

Anil Minocha, M.D., Christine Adamec. How to Stop Heartburn: Simple Ways to Heal Heartburn and Acid Reflux. New York, NY: John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2001.

"Digestive Health Tips: 10 Tips on Belching, Bloating, and Flatulence." American College of Gastroenterology. 15 May 2008

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