Gum makes you smart: Wrigley’s
By Dave Ward
Chewing gum may help to improve your marks, according to new
research from New York University’s College of Dentistry.
The research, funded by Wrigley’s, tested the impact
of gum chewing on education, said lead researcher Kenneth Allen,
a professor at the College. Allen explained that 56 volunteers
were divided into gum-chewers and non-chewers and had them
sit through three days of instruction before writing an identical
Allen said the gum-chewers scored higher on the tests, with
an average of B-minus, while the non-chewers only had an average
General explanations included the fact that chewing gum raised
heart rates, which increases the flow of blood and oxygen to
the brain, he said. However, Allen said he did not have any
thoughts of his own as to why gum-chewers scored higher, adding
the study was an important beginning but more scientific research
was needed to explain why chewers scored higher.
Allen said previous studies were “not rigorous science
in my opinion.” He said the old studies had just been
quick surveys that did not meet the high level of control and
standards involved in his study.
“The difference in the marks was not very great,” said
Elizabeth Bright-See, professor of human ecology at Brescia
University College. She added it was difficult to draw a significant
conclusion based on such a small sample group.
“From a nutrition standpoint, there is no reason [chewing
gum] would help,” Bright-See said, but added it might
be a stress reliever for some people.
Allen said dentists encourage chewing gum already. “If
it’s sugarless gum, I see no problem with it,” he
“I don’t see how it would help. I usually do it
anyway,” said first-year social science student Erin
When asked if he would chew gum to help his marks if more
studies supported this one, non-gum-chewer second-year social
science student Julian Marra said, “if it helps me get
better marks, then sure.”
Allen stated he plans on presenting his study to the American
Association for Dental Research. “I think they will react
positively. They are a very open-minded group.”