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Are you still reaching for that pack of gum?

If not, you're not alone. U.S. gum sales have tumbled 11 percent over the past four years, reports the Associated Press.

No one in the industry can pinpoint a single factor that's causing the decline. But there are few theories floating around: the bad economy; not enough ads outlining gum's cavity-fighting benefits; people simply have more to chew on.

From designer mints to fruit chews, candy companies have invented plenty of other ways to get a quick sugar fix, battle bad breath and anxiety. The alternatives are also less likely to annoy co-workers, parents, significant others, or friends.

Since peaking in 2009, U.S. gum sales have fallen 11 percent to $3.71 billion last year, according to market researcher Euromonitor International. On the other hand, overall candy sales have climbed 10 percent to $31.53 billion. Over the next five years, Euromonitor projects gum sales will drop another 4 percent to $3.56 billion.

Contributing: Associated Press

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