The Unintended Consequences of Gum Chewing: Accelerated Aging of the Lower Face and Mouth.

People chew gum to help clean their teeth after eating, freshen their breath, and even try to keep them whiter. What isn’t readily known is the havok gum chewing has on the aesthetics of the lower face.

The simple act of excessive chewing will lead to muscle hypertrophy of the masseter. Enlargement of this muscles leads to squaring of the lower face and jawline, an undesirable shape in females. The aesthetically pleasing lower face is V-shaped or Heart-shaped. Widening of the lower face is particularly prevalent in the Asian population where the women go to great lengths to slim their face with cosmetic procedures, including surgery. Gum chewing leads to similar problems which fortunately can be reversed with weakening of the masseter muscles with Botox/Dysport.

A much more problematic issue to fix is the negative side effects which occurs around the mouth secondarily to gum chewing. The movements of the soft tissue and perioral muscles is significantly more when chewing than in a relaxed state. Just as with the frown lines and crows feet, the more movement in these areas, the more wrinkles and etched in lines are created. (Ever notice Kim Kardashian doesn’t smile in pictures? It’s because she’s afraid of creating wrinkles, so she limits her facial movements.) In essence, gum chewing accelerates the aging process around the mouth and lower face. Unfortunately, Botox/Dypsort aren’t as easy a remedy for this area because restricting muscle activity can lead to eating and vocalization difficulties. However, lasers, radiofrequency, microneedling, and judicious use of Botox/Dysport can improve the perioral aging process.

Straws can also lead to upper lip lines due to excessive muscle use of the lip muscles (orbicularis oris). The recommendations to improve lower face and mouth asethetics: stop gum chewing and straw use and consider breath mints as a substitute.

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