World’s Oldest, Greatest Vice – Chewing Gum Good for You

As soon as I got my first tooth, I fell in love with gum. At my grandparents’ summer camp, I  begged the boys « Got any gum? »  Then I swallowed it as fast as I could chew it until my parents forbid campers from giving me another stick.

If gum chewing contests existed, I would win. In grade school, learning to blow bubbles with a pink wad of Bazooka rated right up there with sinking my first jump shot. As a teen, chewing gum in class on the sly, made me feel rebellious. Before college basketball games,  I chewed bubble gum to psyche up before battle. After the French teacher caught me chewing gum in the language lab, when I supposed to be busy rolling my r’s, I learned to hate to parler francais.

bazooka advertisement

Remember good ol’ Bazooka Joe, who became one of the most famous 20th century advertizing characters for Bazooka gum marketed just after WWII in red, white, blue symbolized USA and patriotism


But the joke was on me – I wound up living in French speaking countries. When l first moved to Europe, gum chewing was a dead give away to one’s nationality, a trademark of being American like the stereotypical baseball cap and tennis shoes.

But, Le Frenchman I fell in love with considered it a disgusting habit, so I used to smuggle gum in my luggage on transatlantic flights. Now I purchase packets of my vice across the border in France, where surprisingly more gum is consumed than anywhere else in the world besides the U.S.A.

In June 1944, U.S. troops first brought chewing gum to France along with freedom. However, French chewing gum wasn’t launched until 1952 when former GI, Courtland Parfet, introduced the chlorophyll green mint stick, called Hollywood Chewing Gum.

Now  much to parents’, teachers’ and Le Frenchman’s chagrin, it turns out that gum was good for us along.

  • Recent US studies (where else in the world would analyze statistics about gum’s virtues) show that students who chewed a piece before exams increased the blood flow to the brain helping with memorization.
  • Chewing also calmly helps relieve stress and control appetite by reducing hunger.
  • The xylitol in gum helps stop the progression of cavities and inhibits the growth of bacteria.

Finally something taboo that is actually good for you. However, Le Frenchman under ze roof still finds my gum chewing revolting, so like the little kid at camp, I sneak gum into the house. The illicit activity only makes it more enticing.




Posted in humor, travel.


  1. Pat,
    This is such a juicy true confession as well as a very interesting piece on gum from every angle! How do you find all these creative ideas for these delicious posts? I’ve never heard of gum bring promoted as a good thing. You could definitely be on the marketing team for Beechnut,etc 🙂 BTW, I have to avoid chewing gum in public because, well , I get carried away..Thanks for such a fun post!

  2. I only like to chew it until the flavor’s gone. My fave is cinnamon. I can go through a pack of it in 20 minutes. Not worth it! But the Bazooka wrapper def. brought back memories.

  3. Pat, I always look forward to Saturday mornings and reading your blog.
    Sometimes I laugh, sometimes I cry and I always think! I use to love gum but aged jaws caught up with me. Keep Chewing!

  4. Pat, I still chew gum every day! That Bazooka was a favorite back in the then. Now it’s Extra’s classic bubble:)


  5. The video was precious. What a great light hearted way to start the day. And yes, it IS true. My dentist told me that it’s good for you to chew gum, but try to stick to the sugarless kind. He also told me that not all soda is bad for you. Sugar free mroot beer doesn’t have the acidity of other sodas that wear away your enamel. So go have a double guilty pleasure!

  6. I never chew it anymore, but we had that Bazooka gum as well in the seventies, and I preferred it because you could blow bubbles with it, as opposed to those Wrigleys or Spearmints.

  7. Hey sis! thanks for the laugh and memories! I remember collecting the Bazooka wrappers for some really cool prizes! This gum crave must run in the family, Hanners nickname early on was “gum (and candy) kid”. She was always asking, “got any gum?” especially to pushover Grandpa Jim. Glad to see you are not running low on creative blog ideas!

  8. Pat, another humerous blog that took me down memory lane to our wonderful childhood. Where do you get your inspiration? Keep the great ideas coming! Like Barb wrote, every week we readers look forward to your latest reflection.

  9. I used to love gum too – juicy fruit was a favorite. I remember making gum wrapper chains inches, feet, and yards long to drape around my bedroom. Sadly I had to give it up years ago when diagnosed with tmj.

  10. Pat, I thought I would agree with you on everything but on this I must disagree! I am like your Frenchman…I think it is a very unpleasant thing to look at someone chewing gum and find it dismaying when even bridesmaids are chewing during a wedding (yes I have seen this). However, if that is your worst vice, go for it! Chew with pride! And I know you would never chew at a wedding!

    • Unbelievable chewing gum during the ceremony when part of wedding party! Usually I chew at home alone when I can snap, crack and pop without annoying anyone. Always look forward to your humorous postings on your page.

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