Is Your Face Too Small?
For centuries, researchers have linked a diet of soft foods to a host of imbalances, including facial deformities, smaller airways, malocclusion issues, breathing concerns, and, more recently, sleep apnea, snoring, and focus and attention deficit concerns.1
In 1939, Weston Price published Nutrition and Physical Degeneration, based on a compilation of over 400 slides and 15,000 print photographs of traditional and tribal cultures, who were still eating close to the way our hunter-gatherer ancestors did.2
Price reports on the far superior facial development, jaw size, and teeth alignment of traditional people who were not consuming soft, processed food. The tribal people he observed from around the world also had no cavities or gum disease, which was growing rampant in modernized communities.2
In Daniel Lieberman’s book The Story of the Human Body, Price’s results were confirmed:
“The museum I work in has thousands of ancient skulls from all over the world. Most of the skulls from the last few hundred years are a dentist’s nightmare: they are filled with cavities and infections, the teeth are crowded into the jaw, and about one-quarter of them have impacted teeth. The skulls of preindustrial farmers are also riddled with cavities and painful-looking abscesses, but less than 5 percent of them have impacted wisdom teeth. In contrast, most of the hunter-gatherers had nearly perfect dental health. Apparently, orthodontists and dentists were rarely necessary in the Stone Age.”4Daniel Lieberman, The Story of the Human Body
While Price relates these deformities to gross nutritional deficiencies from a modern diet, others connect it to a lack of chewing from consuming predominately soft food.1,3
Are You Chewing Enough?
Chewing for hours a day is how humans evolved—chomping on tough meat, hard tubers, and grinding stone-hard grains. The more we chew, the more stem cells are released, which supports optimal growth of the facial bones, chewing muscles, a wider palate and jaw, and larger airways. Chewing is not only key for breathing and straight teeth, but each time you chew, you pump blood and nutrients into the brain and flush toxins out.
Today, some 90% of kids experience malocclusion and require orthodonture and teeth pulling because their underdeveloped jaws are too small for wisdom teeth.2 Three-quarters of us have deviated septums that are easily visible with the naked eye and half have chronically inflamed nasal turbinates, which are the turbo-chargers of breathing.1
In research published almost a century ago, Dr. James Sim Wallace measured the difference of facial structural development of modern soft food-eaters and ancient people, who chewed traditional hunter-gatherer diets. The average size of a modern palate is 2.16 inches, while the average ancient palate is 2.37 inches.1
Top 10 Reasons to Chew!5
Learning how to chew even after the face has been fully developed can yield numerous benefits.
- Help out lower digestion
- Increase satisfaction + reduce food intake
- Boost hunger satiation hormones
- Lose weight
- Boost rest-and-digest nervous system
- Decrease cravings + emotional eating
- Boost cognitive function
- Better attention + focus
- Lack of chewing linked to numerous digestive concerns
- Opens airways + supports proper facial development
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Why Chew Mastic Gum
Mastic gum is a resin from the Pistacia lentiscus tree that grows exclusively in and around Greece. Not only is it the world’s first chewing gum, but it sports a host of health benefits in its impressive resume. Mastic gum will also give your jaw a true workout, supporting the orofacial benefits mentioned above. It is surprisingly easy to chew for hours, unlike most gums that urge you to spit it out after just a few minutes. Chewing mastic gum releases certain acids in the resin found to support upper digestive health and much more.
Top Ten Benefits of Chewing Mastic Gum
- May help relieve digestive pain, discomfort, and inflammation6,8
- May help H. pylori bacteria and heartburn6-9
- May help with ulcers6,8,9
- May help ease symptoms of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)6,8
- May help lower cholesterol6
- Promotes overall liver health6
- May help prevent cavities6
- May help treat symptoms of allergic asthma6
- May help ward off prostate cancer6
- May help thwart colon cancer6
Best Mastic Gum
There are two brands of mastic gum I recommend.
- Falim are individually wrapped pieces of mastic gum that come in a few flavors. While tough to chew, giving your jaw a good workout, it is mildly processed and I was not able to chew it for as long as when I chewed the raw resin straight from the tree.
- Chios Mastic Gum (Maolixa Xiou) is the raw resin. It comes as a bag of resin pieces of different shapes and sizes. It takes a few minutes to slowly warm and chew the hard rocklike resin into actual chewing gum, but it is worth the wait. Chios mastic gum is an even greater workout for the jaw than Falim and for some reason is easier to chew for longer periods of time.
I actually have both. Falim mastic gum is cheaper and easy to carry because they are individually wrapped, while the Chios I keep at my desk to chomp away while writing! Check with your dentist before chewing mastic gum, as it can stress and challenge dental work. Start slowly and gently and build up to chewing for one to two hours a day.
If you try mastic gum, let us know what you find!
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This article originally appeared in Elephant Journal.