Maybe it’s not only teachers who get a headache from their students’ lip smacking, bubble popping and gum cracking.

Dr. Nathan Watemberg of Meir Medical Center in Kfar Saba, Israel, has evidence that gum-chewing teenagers, and younger children as well, may be giving themselves a pain in the head. His small study focused on child and adolescent gum-chewers suffering from migraines and other chronic headaches.

“Out of our 30 patients, 26 reported significant improvement, and 19 had complete headache resolution,” said Watemberg. “Twenty of the improved patients later agreed to go back to chewing gum, and all of them reported an immediate relapse of symptoms.”

He is hoping that his findings, to be published in Pediatric Neurology, could offer a simple way to treat migraine and tension headaches in gum-chewers without the need for additional testing or medication.

The estimated prevalence of headache and migraine over periods between one month and a lifetime in children and adolescents is 58.4 percent, according to a 2010 study done in the United Kingdom. Girls are more prone to migraines, a severe, painful headache that may be accompanied by flashes of light, blind spots, tingling in the arms and legs, nausea, vomiting and increased sensitivity to light and sound.

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