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Mastic Gum: What it is, and why complications from it could be painful

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Posted at 6:06 AM, Jul 02, 2024

In recent months, an interesting trend has emerged on social media targeting young men: using super hard gum to achieve a more defined jawline.

The key ingredient is a natural resin, derived from the mastic tree, which is touted as a simple, non-invasive method to enhance facial aesthetics.

But while the promise of a chiseled jawline is enticing, experts warn the potential complications could be painful.

From the Man of Steel - Henry Cavill to the brooding Robert Pattinson star of the Twilight series. Many of Hollywood’s leading men have long had one thing in common - a jaw-dropping jawline.

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Jammar Hines

"It's very important to have a good jawline," said Jammar Hanes. "I think it's very important because it gives you a masculine look."

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Dr. Laura Garcia-Rodriguez

Dr. Laura Garcia Rodriguez is a facial plastic surgeon and otolaryngologist with Henry Ford Health. She says that firmer texture provides a workout to the jaw muscles we use to chew.

"Mastic gum is known to be firmer. It's harder to chew," said Dr. Laura Garcia Rodriguez. "To augment that posterior part of the jaw, to give people more of that chiseled, L-shaped jawline that is more desirable in the male population."

I hit the street to find some guys to put mastic gum to the test.

"Working out my jaw," Hanes said. "Let me see. Oh, this is pretty hard, too. I feel it too. feel the work and feel it like all though all the muscles in my jaw move in."

"What do you think?" I asked Noah Pham.

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Noah Pham

"It's really tough," Pham said. "I can tell it would definitely work out the jaw."

"How long could you do this?" I asked Donnie Watts.

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Donnie Watts

"I would say about seven minutes maybe, because it might get tiring a little bit after a while," Watts responded.

Dr. Garcia-Rodriguez says mastic gum can bulk up those jaw muscles. But using a model she highlights one of the problems that can be caused by chewing ultra-tough gum.

"You're opening and opening the jaw and you're clenching and you can actually have TMJ joint pain, that could cause ear pain," Rodriguez said.

And headaches. And then there are the teeth you’re using for all of that chewing.

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Dr. Amira May Woodruff

"It's so hard, it could damage some of your actual teeth," said Dr. Amira May Woodruff.

Dr. Warren Woodruff and Dr. Amira May Woodruff of Caring Smiles Family Dentistry both agree chewing mastic gum can lead to expensive and painful dental problems, especially if you have fillings or crowns.

"You could pull out dental work," Dr. Amira said. "If you have a tooth that has an issue that you might not know about, and it could be fragile, and you could bite the gum in the wrong way and break something."

Which could be a painful price to pay for a sculpted jawline. All of the experts agree it’s crucial to weigh the benefits against the potential risks.

"Dr. Warren, would you try mastic gum?" I asked.

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Dr. Warren Woodruff

"Just because how tough it is on the mouth...I still would be hesitant to try it at this moment," Dr. Warren said. "So that's a no. That's a no."

If you look at the before and after photos in the marketing of this type of gum, you see that in a lot of the after photos the guys have lost weight.

And that’s also helping to give them the more chiseled jawline. It’s not the gum alone

Both Dr. Woodruff and Dr. May Woodruff suggest checking with your dentist to make sure your teeth are healthy enough for the chewing workout.