If you’ve sat down to watch a game on television in recent years -- whether professional or otherwise -- you may have noticed more and more athletes are chewing gum while they play. This is obviously more apparent in baseball and basketball, the two most naked sports; but across the athletic landscape, players appear to be chewing on a regular basis.
Gum chewing during sports has been largely believed to increase brain activity, as the act of chewing actually improves various bodily functions. Information from sensory organs generated by the movement of chewing is transmitted to the nerves, resulting in enhanced activity in the brain cortex. That means increased blood flow to the brain, improved heart rate and blood pressure, and even a calming, stress-reducing psychological effect.
So while gum chewing has a positive mental effect, and that certainly gives athletes a good enough reason to chew and play, the question remains: are there any physical advantages to chewing gum while playing sports?
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In a recent study conducted by Tokyo Dental College’s Department of Sports Dentistry -- The Effects of Gum Chewing on the Body Reaction Time -- researchers measured the physical movement response time and the reaction time of the long fibular muscle in athletes while performing with and without gum. Their findings showed significant positive impact to physical performance while chewing gum.
As mentioned earlier, gum chewing increases the level of activity in the frontal lobe of the brain, making the brain cortex more alert and increasing cognitive functions. That includes general levels of caution and arousal levels, which enhances the degree of reaction and shortens the body’s response time. A quicker response time means quicker movement and action in the “fast-twitch” muscles, giving players a competitive advantage on the field, court or ice. Essentially, chewing gum gives athletes the ability to run slightly faster and jump slightly higher.
The benefits of chewing gum while playing sports go beyond simply increasing the body’s response time. Again, gum chewing increases levels of activity in the brain, particularly the cortex, which enables a higher level of concentration. Chewing gum also decreases adrenaline, which reduces stress and drowsiness; factors that also contribute to enhanced performance.
And even the gum your players choose may have different effects on their bodies. The hardness of gum your players chew causes changes in the blood flow to their brains. A gum with a moderate hardness contributes more toward the benefits of increased blood flow than a gum that is too hard or too soft.
Of course, your players are much better off chewing gum than chewing on a big chunk of rubber. That’s what happens when your team uses generic boil-and-bite mouthguards.
It’s important to be sure your players are getting mouthguards that have been designed taking into account the individual structure of their mouths. According to the Academy for Sports Dentistry, custom mouthguards that are individually engineered to fit an athlete’s teeth and mouth are 1000% more protective than any other type of mouthguard.
And much like chewing gum, custom mouthguards have the ability to enhance athletic performance.
With Gladiator’s Compliance Guarantee, your players won’t just get the most protective mouthguard possible, but the most comfortable as well.
Enhance your team’s performance with the help of gum and custom mouthguards from Gladiator, the industry-leader in custom mouthguards.