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BioMed Research International
Volume 2015, Article ID 149431, 7 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2015/149431
Review Article

Chew the Pain Away: Oral Habits to Cope with Pain and Stress and to Stimulate Cognition

1Department of Clinical Neuropsychology, VU University Amsterdam, Van der Boechorststraat 1, 1081 BT Amsterdam, Netherlands
2Department of Oral Kinesiology, Academic Centre for Dentistry Amsterdam (ACTA), University of Amsterdam and VU University Amsterdam, MOVE Research Institute Amsterdam, Gustav Mahlerlaan 3004, 1081 LA Amsterdam, Netherlands

Received 19 September 2014; Accepted 10 December 2014

Academic Editor: Jian-Hua Liu

Copyright © 2015 Roxane Anthea Francesca Weijenberg and Frank Lobbezoo. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

The acute effects of chewing gum on cognitive performance, stress, and pain have been intensively studied in the last decade. The results have been contradicting, and replication studies proved challenging. Here, we review some of the recent findings of this topic and explore possible explanations for these discrepancies by incorporating knowledge derived from studies into oral habits and bruxism. Both stress and cerebral functional specialization (i.e., the involvement of specific brain structures in distinctive cognitive processes) are hypothesized to play a major role in the underlying physiological mechanisms of the diverse effects of chewing gum on cognition, stress, and pain.