If you have acid reflux you might be wondering if chewing gum can help improve your acid reflux symptoms.
Generally chewing gum can be helpful for calming acid reflux when done after a meal, though there are some cases where chewing gum may actually worsen the problems.
Below we will break it all down in more detail.
Is Chewing Gum Good for Acid Reflux?
Chewing gum has been shown to help lessen acid reflux symptoms usually when done after eating. When you chew gum your mouth produces more saliva and salvia can help lower stomach acid which often helps calm and settle acid reflux symptoms. Salvia is alkaline which means that it helps lower and neutralize the acid in your stomach.
Studies have shown that chewing gum increases the pH of the esophagus and the larynx areas. What this basically means is that the throat and just above the stomach will be more alkaline when chewing gum. When these areas are more alkaline this often lessens and helps acid reflux symptoms.
Another study showed that chewing sugar free gum for 30 minutes after a meal can reduce the esophageal reflux during this time.
In addition to swallowing more salvia when you are chewing gum and how that helps acid reflux you also have the effect of swallowing itself. When you are constantly swallowing like you do when you chew gum this prevents any acid refluxing up because you are constantly swallowing and salvia is going down, which in turn helps stop any acid from coming up.
Keep in mind that a lot of the studies that have shown that chewing gum is helpful for acid reflux and GERD have used sugar free gum. Sugar free is the best choice. The reason for that is because gum containing sugar is more likely to cause irritation than sugar free gum. Gum with sugar can increase the production of stomach acid which in turn can irritate and worsen acid reflux symptoms for certain people. Also keep in mind a lot of gums include peppermint or other forms of mint which can be irritating and triggering for acid reflux symptoms too. That’s why it’s often best to opt for another flavor that is not mint.
Also, it’s important to note that when chewing gum, you may notice that your acid reflux symptoms are improved. Though the most likely reason for this is the swallowing keeping the acid down and in the stomach. Sometime it’s the case that once you stop chewing the gum, your symptoms will start to come back and perhaps sometimes even worse. Often the reason for this is because of the ingredients included in the gum like additives and preservatives, which can be irritating for certain people particularly people with more severe acid reflux like GERD or LPR.
That is why sometimes it’s best to avoid chewing gum if you fall in these categories because while chewing the gum may offer some short-term relief chances are that chewing the gum will in fact cause more irritation in the long run. This is particularly true if you have LPR (silent reflux) where the acid reflux can affect the throat and larynx areas.
If you have only minor or occasional acid reflux chewing gum after eating is an okay short-term option for relief. Though usually there are better options in the long run to help prevent acid reflux. The most important one is to watch what you are eating. Most importantly to avoid the trigger foods and drinks for acid reflux. Some of the biggest triggers include spicy food, soft drinks, fatty food, alcohol, coffee, chocolate and citrus fruits to name a few.
For many people simply eliminating the trigger foods will help control and stop their acid reflux. For others they may need to go that extra step, check out my Wipeout Diet Plan for a more complete acid reflux diet plan.
You also have medication options which can help aid and control an acid reflux flare up like Gaviscon or Tums which are usually enough for quick relief.
In conclusion chewing gum is a fine choice for short term relief for acid reflux symptoms but shouldn’t really be used for long term relief or treatment. Instead you should be considering the root cause of your acid reflux and this often means adjusting your diet or lifestyle to control and stop your acid reflux instead of using chewing gum to keep symptoms away.
If you need more acid reflux advice or guidance you can book a Private Acid Reflux Consultation with Me Here.
Important Related Questions
What is the Best Gum to Chew for Acid Reflux?
Usually sugar free gum is the best choice for acid reflux and a gum that is not mint flavored as this can trigger certain people’s acid reflux.
Does Gum Worsen Acid Reflux?
For some people gum may irritate their acid reflux because of the sugar or preservatives in the gum.
How Long Should You Chew Gum for Acid Reflux?
Usually chewing the gum for around 30-60 minutes after eating is enough to help acid reflux.
Are Mints Good for Acid Reflux?
Mints are not good for acid reflux. That is because of the sugar often included in mints and the mint itself which is also a well-known trigger for acid reflux.