Why do so many football players and other athletes chew gum right during the competition, even at the highest level? Are they not afraid to swallow it? Isn't it dangerous?

Why do so many football players and other athletes chew gum right during the competition, even at the highest level? Are they not afraid to swallow it? Isn't it dangerous?

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answers (2)

Answer 1
March, 2021

Hello! Thank you for your interesting question!

You correctly noted that not only football players chew gum during matches or training sessions. Someone thinks that this is from stress, but in fact everything is like this: when chewing, it is much harder to breathe through the mouth, so breathing only occurs through the nose, which allows better control of the heart rate .

Another reason athletes chew gum during competition is to prevent dry mouth . As you can imagine, it is not always possible to go out to drink during the competition. Chewing gum helps out great in such moments.

Answer 2
March, 2021

Research shows that there are certain benefits and some risks for an athlete chewing gum while running.


  • For some, chewing movements create a rhythm for running. These movements are synchronized with the steps of the athlete, creating an even and consistent pace.

  • While chewing, it is much more difficult to breathe through the mouth. This forces more breathing only through the nose. Famed ultra-marathon runner Scott Jurek claims that breathing through the nose "lowers the heart rate and also increases brain activity."

  • When asked about this, most athletes say they just chew gum to keep their mouth from drying out.

  • On particularly long stretches, chewing gum can help ward off boredom.

  • Research shows that chewing gum can increase blood flow to the brain and improve concentration.

  • Chewing peppermint gum can help relieve nasal congestion.


  • The most obvious is the risk of suffocation. This is especially dangerous during more intense workouts where you breathe faster and harder. If you swallow the gum without choking, don't worry; the gum won't stay in the stomach for seven years, as we know from the famous myth. You just digest it with everything else.

  • Chewing gum makes you swallow excess air. This can lead to gastrointestinal upsets like cramps and bloating. Runners are known to suffer from these conditions in one way or another, so adding gum can be the reason for failure.

  • Chewing gum with artificial sweeteners in it can also cause stomach problems.

  • If you chew sugar-filled gum, you will see your dentist more often.

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