Chewing Gum

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Chewing gum is a type of gum traditionally made of chicle, a natural latex product, or synthetic rubber known as polyisobutylene, which is a non-vulcanisable form of the butyl rubber (isoprene-isobutylene) used for inner tubes or to line tubeless tires. For reasons of economy and quality, many modern chewing gums use rubber instead of chicle. Chicle is nonetheless still the base of choice for some regional markets, such as in Japan. Chewing gum in various forms has existed since at least the Neolithic period. 5,000 year old chewing gum with tooth imprints, made of birch bark tar, has been found in Kierikki, Yli-Ii, Finland. The bark tar of which the gums were made is believed to have antiseptic properties and other medicinal advantages. The ancient Aztecs used chicle as a base for making a gum-like substance. Women in particular used this gum as a mouth freshener. Forms of chewing gums were also used in Ancient Greece. The Greeks chewed mastic gum, made from the resin of the mastic tree. Many other cultures have chewed gum-like substances made from plants, grasses, and resins. The American Indians chewed resin made from the sap of spruce trees. The New England settlers picked up this practice, and in the early 1880s attempts were made to commercially market spruce gum. Around 1850 a gum made from paraffin wax was developed and soon exceeded the spruce gum in popularity. The United States military have regularly supplied soldiers with chewing gum since World War I because it helped both to improve the soldiers' concentration and to relieve stress. As of 2005, the U.S. military is sponsoring development of a chewing gum formulation with an antibacterial agent that could replace conventional oral hygiene methods in the battlefield. This product is not expected to be available for use for some time to come. Sugar-free gum sweetened with xylitol has been shown to reduce cavities and plaque by starving microorganisms in the mouth. The same effect has not been shown for the sweetener sorbitol. The addition of calcium lactate has been shown to increase recalcification. Chewing gum sweetened with sugar can have a negative effect on oral health, because it can degrade the enamel on teeth. [READ THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE]





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