Can chewing gum help with focus?

There’s the classic trope, the distracted kid chewing gum and not paying attention. But could it be that chewing gum can actually help with concentration?

Mars’ EXTRA® gum, in collaboration with KRC Research, has unveiled intriguing results from a survey centered on students’ study and homework habits. The findings suggest an unexpected ally in students’ battle for focus: chewing gum!

The Quest for Better Focus

The contemporary student faces many challenges, not least among them being the struggle for sustained concentration. With ever-present digital distractions and shifting schedules, keeping one’s focus sharp is a daunting task. Some findings from the Extra/KRC study:

Key Findings

  • A Common Dilemma: A significant 66% of high school students find it challenging to maintain focus on homework, showcasing a widespread issue.
  • Distraction Overload: It’s alarming that 74% of students find themselves distracted within just 30 minutes of engaging with homework. Even more startling? 40% find their attention waning in a mere 10 minutes.
  • Late Night Study Sessions: Many students are burning the midnight oil. 60% tackle their homework post 6 PM, and 20% of the older cohort (high school seniors) are engrossed in their assignments even after 9 PM. However, 65% of students admit that concentrating during these late hours is a challenge.
  • The Challenge of Assistance: It seems that age-old adage, “parent knows best”, doesn’t apply to homework for many. Nearly half (49%) of older high school students (ages 15-17) feel that their parents are out of depth when it comes to aiding them in their studies.
  • Strength in Numbers: A striking 75% of students opine that having a study buddy makes focusing easier. In seeking help, most students would approach their parents first (64%), followed by the internet (60%), and then their peers (46%). Yet, AI-based tools like ChatGPT are still gaining traction, with only 12% of students considering them for academic aid.

Chewing Over Solutions – Can gum actually help with focus?

Possibly the most unexpected and interesting finding was the strong correlation between chewing gum and improved focus. An impressive 69% of high school students admitted to using gum as a tool to enhance concentration. The act of chewing gum is favored during homework sessions at home (65%), study periods (65%), in class (60%), and interestingly, even during video gaming sessions, particularly among males (49%).


While the reasons for gum’s role in enhancing focus might be an area for further research – whether it’s the rhythmic motion, the mild stimulation, or some other factor – what’s evident is that students are seeking and finding novel methods to maintain concentration. As the back-to-school season approaches, students, educators, and parents might all consider stocking up on that age-old classroom contraband, gum, and witness its potential benefits firsthand.