Teenagers who suffer from migraines and tension headaches have been told they can help themselves – by giving up chewing gum.
Headaches are common in childhood and become more common and frequent during adolescence, particularly among girls.
Typical triggers are stress, tiredness, lack of sleep, heat, video games, noise, sunlight, smoking, missed meals, and menstruation.
But until now there has been little medical research on the relationship between gum chewing and headaches.
Scientists at the Tel Aviv University-affiliated Meir Medical Centre, in Israel, found that 87 per cent of teens who give up the habit experienced significant relief.
They believe the finding could allow doctors to cure thousands of patients of migraines and tension headaches without the need for additional tests or medication.
Dr Nathan Watemberg said: "Out of our 30 patients, 26 reported significant improvement and 19 had complete headache resolution. "Twenty of the improved patients later agreed to go back to chewing gum, and all of them reported an immediate relapse of symptoms."