Chewing Gum: Can It Improve Math Scores?


I'm a little skeptical of this one...a new study suggests that chewing gum may boost math scores among teens.

Researchers studied 108 teens—half of who chewed sugar-free gum during math class, math homework, and math tests, and half who did not. After 14 weeks, the teens took a math test: Those who chewed gum had a 3 percent increase in standardized math scores and had final math grades that were significantly higher than the other teens.


So why am I so skeptical of this study? Because it was sponsored by Wrigley Science Institute, which has everything to gain from a study showing that gum boosts academic performance.

Still, previous studies have suggested that there are benefits to chewing gum including reduced stress and anxiety and improved alertness. Also, some medical experts have found that chewing gum can reduce fidgety behavior in kids with ADHD. Teachers in the math study said that the students who chewed gum "seemed to require fewer breaks, sustain attention longer, and remain quieter." So, perhaps the results of this new study shouldn't be all that surprising; and, at the very least, maybe it will lead to future research that will better explore how chewing gum can increase academic performance.

Are you surprised by the results of this study? Do you think chewing gum can boost academic performance in kids?


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