Dentists reveal the surprising effect that chewing gum can have on skin, and you'll be put off for good
Whether you brush between meals, pop mints on the hour, or are constantly chewing a stick of gum, no one wants to be informed that they're guilty of having bad breath.
However, according to two celebrity dentists, one popular way of preventing this social taboo may be having an adverse effect on our skin. As Imogen Bexfield, the founder and medical director at White Swan Aesthetics told Glamour, that little stick of minty freshness can cause wrinkles, a squarer looking jaw, and may even be chipping away at your teeth.
Like most wrinkle-causing culprits, it's all down to the repeated facial expressions you make whilst chewing.
"Repeated facial expressions like smiling, squinting or, frowning do leave marks on your skin over time and chewing gum excessively can have an impact on these fine lines - particularly on and around the upper lip area which can contribute to wrinkles," Bexfield explained.
"Chewing gum also promotes muscle over-activity which can cause the jawline (masseter) to bulge," she continued. "That ‘square-jawed’ look that we often see is usually the result of over-developed masseter muscles; they’re the muscles that are attached at the angle of your jaw and control your chewing."
Dr. Uchenna Okoye, a cosmetic dentist, agreed, stating that we should be chewing gum for no longer than 10 minutes (guilty as charged).
"Gum is great to help neutralise the effects of acids and sugar by stimulating the saliva. However, this is only as long as you chew for flavour, for around 10 minutes, and then spit it out," she said. "Otherwise you set up micro cracks and chips, which collect stains that look ageing. Also, over time, as teeth chip away, teeth get shorter. The shorter your front teeth are, the older you look!"
But it doesn't just end there - even the way you sleep could be causing wrinkles. According to The American Academy of Dermatology (ADD), sleeping in certain positions can lead to "sleep lines" - that is, wrinkles that become etched into the surface of the skin, and don't fade once you're awake.
Sleeping on your side can increase wrinkles on the cheeks and chin, while sleeping face-down, on your stomach, may give you a furrowed brow.
"Side sleepers often see deeper wrinkles or creases on the side of their face that they naturally turn to each night, as well as vertical creases down their cheeks and chin," Dr. Joel Schlessinger, a board-certified dermatologist and RealSelf contributor asserted.
Of course, the best position to sleep in for the sake of your skin is on your back. "This position keeps everything off your face, including dirt and oil from the pillow and grease from your hair, and prevents any friction to the skin that can stretch collagen fibers and lead to wrinkles," Dr. Michael Breus explained.
Well, looks like I'll be carrying around a toothbrush everywhere from now...