Did you know that the ingredients in your chewing gum may be more dangerous than any of the ingredients in the food you chew and swallow? Most of the chewing gum options you’ll find in a grocery store or at a gas station contain more than 1 ingredient that has been linked to serious diseases like Alzheimer’s and cancer.

Here are the top 5 ingredients you need to avoid in chewing gum:

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Aspartame

The popular artificial sweetener aspartame is still found in 85% of all chewing gum. When metabolized by your body, aspartame turns into both wood alcohol which is a poison and formaldehyde (also known as embalming fluid) which is a carcinogen. Aspartame is the #1 culprit of adverse reactions to additives. It is linked to almost 100 symptoms and conditions including Alzheimer’s, birth defects, cancer, weight gain, and brain tumors.

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BHT (Butylated Hydroxytoluene)

In many other countries BHT has already been banned from consumption because it is so toxic! Unfortunately, in the U.S. it is commonly used as a preservative in processed foods including chewing gum. BHT is currently known to be linked to hyperactivity in children, organ system toxicity (including liver and kidney damage), and it is currently being studied as a possible carcinogen.

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Calcium Casein Peptone (Calcium Phosphate)

This particular ingredient is found in popular sugar free gum brands and is used as a texturizer or whitening agent. CCP is an over processed derivative of milk. Currently there is little scientific data on long-term ingestion; however CCP was linked to Chinese baby formula poisonings.

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Acesulfame K (Acesulfame Potassium)

Acesulfame K is another synthetic sweetener. It’s a potassium salt that contains methylene chloride which is a known carcinogen. Side effects can cause impairment of the kidneys and liver, mood problems, headaches, nausea, and eyesight problems.

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Titanium Dioxide

Titanium dioxide is linked to autoimmune disorders, Crohn’s disease, asthma, and is possibly carcinogenic. Often used as a coloring agent in chewing gum and candy, the largest concentration of titanium dioxide is found in chewing gum.

These ingredients of chewing gum in any concentration could cause irreversible health damage. The best way to be sure you’re chewing safely is to read the ingredients.

Chew Natural Gum Instead

Although many chewing gums are essentially toxic, there are excellent natural alternatives available on the market. Healthy gum ingredients include xylitol (known to reduce the risk of dental caries), natural flavorings, and vegetable glycerin (texture enhancer and solvent). Always be sure to read the ingredients before you chew!

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Selecting a xylitol chewing gum will not only give you peace of mind that you’ve selected a healthy, natural product, but it will actually give you bonus dental benefits.  We all know chewing gum helps your mouth produce saliva, but xylitol helps keep the natural pH balance of the mouth, creating an unfriendly environment for bacteria.   Chewing xylitol gum also allows the xylitol to create a protective barrier on the teeth, making it difficult for the bacteria to stick to the teeth, allowing a decrease in plaque buildup.

Likely the easiest way to avoid all of the dangerous stuff is to get gum that has xylitol as the first ingredient in the list of ingredients that is on all food labels in the U.S. Because xylitol is more expensive than corn syrup this gum may cost more, but it is worth it, and because most of these gums are sold through health food stores they will not have the harmful additives.

Learn more about the dental benefits of xylitol chewing gum.

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