In brief: Chew on this

In brief

Chew on this

If you think you're having a heart attack, you're supposed to take an aspirin right away. A dose of 325 milligrams will do. Aspirin keeps platelets from clumping. And that should help keep the blood clot (or clots) in your coronary arteries — which is what triggers the heart attack — from getting any bigger and further depriving your heart of the blood it needs.

Time is of the essence, and chewing the aspirin tablet will get the anti-sticky-platelet action going faster. Needless to say, you shouldn't take coated aspirin, which is designed to bypass the stomach and be absorbed in the intestine.

But the advice to "chew then swallow" only applies in emergencies. A report published in 2004 in the Journal of the American Dental Association described the consequences of routine aspirin chewing for two patients with jaw problems (temporomandibular pain) and overly sensitive teeth. They chewed four to eight aspirins a day for two years, seriously damaging the enamel and dentin of their teeth. Obviously these were extreme cases, but the lesson learned is that regularly chewing aspirin is bad for your teeth.

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