Posted by: lindseychristine | November 11, 2009

Chewing Gum Linked to Heightened Test Scores

“Dirty mouth? Clean it up with Orbit!” Many chewing gum companies promote their products by convincing us of the gum’s long-lasting flavor and the joys of acquiring minty clean breath. However, what they don’t advertise is an excellent perk of chewing gum in general, earning higher test scores and an overall stronger, academic performance.

A research study involving teenage gum chewers at the Children’s Nutrition Research Center at Baylor College of Medicine in April 2009, confirmed “an increase in standardized math test scores and their final grades were better compared to those who didn’t chew gum,” which was conducted by Craig A. Johnston, Ph.D., according to Wrigley. The study revealed that students who chewed gum in the classroom and while doing homework for 14 weeks increased math test scores considerably.

gumball-machineThe boost in academic performance from gum is caused from jaw and tongue movement when chewing, which enhances “feedback to the brain-just as if you were doodling,” according to a medical blog post composed by Dr. David Clark, a Functional Neurologist from Dallas. Dr. Clark explained when feedback is boosted in the brain, stimulation is also increased which assists the brain to be better committed to focusing on a task, such as math. This neurologist advises his patients who are diagnosed with ADHD or with learning disabilities, like Dyslexia, to chew gum while completing homework or studying to strengthen brain activity and increase blood flow for a greater concentration level.

It’s rather ironic that I’m currently blogging about gum while chewing my favorite gum, Orbit Peppermint. It certainly has become routine for me to chew gum when I want to “get down to business” with my schoolwork. Like caffeinated coffee beverages, gum is an essential for helping me focus while taking notes in class, writing papers, studying, and at my workplace. Ultimately, my frequent gum chewing to “keep me going” and committed to completing such tasks has become an unconscious habit. I am not surprised by this interesting medical research given that I can personally relate to the academic and concentration benefits of this sweet treat. I’ll definitely be sure to pop a stick of gum in my mouth before my math test this week.

Are you a more concentrated student when chewing gum?

These student gum chewers tell all…

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Responses

  1. I’ve heard that gum-chewing does help with concentration and helps to boost memory (especially when studying for an exam). I’m glad to know this is true! I’ve actually tried to remember to bring a piece of gum with me to class, even when I don’t have an exam. Great post!

  2. Really interesting! I had never really thought about this before. I guess chewing gum is just like any other habit people do when concentrating or nervous…smoking cigarettes, biting their nails, twirling their hair. I don’t know if I’m more concentrated when I chew gum, but I’m going to test the theory and see!

  3. I use it to help me wake up some more when driving home wicked late at night. It helps.

  4. I think I remember reading something about this before and being upset back in elementary/middle school when we couldn’t chew gum. I think the sugar helps to keep you motivated and focused on the task at hand and the chewing gives you something to help take your mind off of the hard test you’re taking.

  5. Interesting post! I would’ve never thought a study like this existed, but when I’m lacking concentration (generally a daily thing anyways), I’ll be keeping this in mind.

  6. Now it all makes sense why I’m a super-genius! It’s because I chew Orbit gum (multiple flavors, not at the same time though). No, but in all seriousness, this is interesting and I can see the correlation after reading your post. Personally, my favorite Orbit flavor is Mint Mojito, but I can’t seem to find it up here…

  7. Pretty good information to know. I just wish I knew it when I started school not the year I finish hahha.

  8. Oh man. I’ve been a gum chewer for years now, and in grad school I hate it when I forget to put a pack of something in my backpack when I go to class. I definitely concentrate better when I have something to chew on – and it keeps me awake in early morning classes or during late night study sessions.


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