In defense of my vice

I am a “gumaholic.” Hi…my name is Jessica!

Yes, I chew gum with the same fervor and anxiety as smokers smoke cigarettes. So, how did it start? It started at a very young age watching my mom chew gum. Now, my mother is a very “talented” gum chewer, in my opinion. I had always been impressed by people who can “do things” with their gum, you know what I mean? For example, she can pop gum just by chewing, she can make these tiny bubbles and crack them while barely using her tongue! It was amazing to me. Anyway, so I was a young girl watching my mom chew gum, and she always looked like she was having so much fun. Also, it always seemed to be a secret pleasure of hers because, 1.) she never shared, 2.) this gum only lived her purse, and 3.) whenever she WOULD let us have some it was rare, joyous occasion. So, the mysteriousness of this gum made me curious to the point that I always wanted it. So, from childhood up until age 16 all I ever wanted was gum–as far as candy in concerned, of course. I didn’t care what form it was whether it was the rock hard Dubble Bubble (makes for very loud cracking FYI 🙂 ), the reward after tackling a Blow Pop, the always sweet & soft Bubblelicious, or the two second sweetness of Bazooka gum (you kids born in the late 90s and 2000s don’t know nuthin bout that!!).

When I turned 16, I got a job and my parents “dumped” me. I had to buy everything I wanted myself. Sooooo……now I was able to fund my own habit. I started buying different types of gum to see what I liked. This was also when I got into chewing gum. Before this time, I was strictly a bubblegum chewer because of the obvious fun to be had with it. However, after I started being rebellious and chewing gum in school, I realized that it was a tad bit difficult to hide and chew a huge wad of bubblegum. So, I put the bubblegum down and picked up chewing gum. The first gum I ever fell in love with was Ice Breakers–before they became sugar free. So, here I am at age 17 chewing gum from the time I walked out the door at 6:30 AM to the time I went to bed at night. I never had a cavity before, and my teeth were perfect! My newly formed addiction caused my first and only cavity. It was very small and they didn’t even need to dumb me, but I was upset. I prided myself on being the only 17-year-old I knew who had perfect teeth. I resolved to be the only person I knew to have perfect teeth when I died! Because I was so upset, you would think I would lay off the gum…right? NO! What did I do? I switched to sugar free gum. That’s when I found my current love: Extra (spearmint). Anyway, skip a few years into the early college years. I found myself longing to chew gum all the time. I needed it when I wanted to chill because it helped maintain the level of calm I wanted to achieve. I needed it when I was stressed because it would help mellow me out. I needed it when I was studying or doing some intense task because it helped me to focus. I needed it when I was hungry or wanted to snack because some kind of way I felt less hungry while chewing. I found myself “needing” gum all the time! I knew it was a problem, but I didn’t think it was that bad. I even got to the point where I was investigating the long term effects of gum chewing because the only way I was gonna quit was if it would risk my dental health in the future. (SMH)

So, here I am today at 28.48 years old…still chewing gum, but not as often. I’ve tried quitting several times, but of course I couldn’t take that. A few times I just wanted to see how long I could go without, so when I ran out I just never went to the store to get more. I think I lasted a month once! But anyway, to answer the second question of why would I quit…I don’t think I would! Gum has its benefits, so why would I quit something that’s good for me? Gum is clinically proven to lower your caloric intake by helping you not to snack. It’s also proven to fight tooth decay, whiten teeth, ease tension, and of course freshens breath. However, I have lowered the frequency of my gum chewing though. I pretty much don’t chew at home unless I’m craving something sweet. But, pretty much if I have gum on hand I’m going to chew, but if I don’t, then I’ll be ok for a few weeks. So…there’s my vice! Gum LOL.

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