We’ve all been there…that terrifying moment when you’re aimlessly walking around and suddenly you feel a punch in your throat and then what feels like a never ending boulder rolling down to you stomach. That’s right, swallowing gum. One of the worst feelings that I bet has caught almost everyone on this blog by surprise.
According to Michael F. Picco, M.D., certified in gastroenterology and a consultant for Mayo Clinic in Florida, swallowed gum does not make a home in a person’s stomach if swallowed. It cannot be digested along with food that has been swallowed, however, it can be moved throughout the large and small intestines and in most cases, will exit the body in a short period of time.
For the kids who love their gum, it’s important to make sure that they know the reasons why its called CHEWING gum, not SWALLOW gum. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recalls a case of a young boy with severe constipation, found to be caused from an extreme amount swallowed chewing gum). It was not one piece of gum that did this, but the behavior of the child and his habit of constantly swallowing the gum he was given. This can be the rare case if you do not chew gum properly (or at all).
If there were to be an experiment on this topic, researchers would either have to force children to swallow large amounts of gum, creating constipation, have children not swallow gum, and also have kids chew gum at their own rate. There would be a null hypothesis of nothing happening when the children swallowed different amounts of gum, as the gum would just come out of their body in stool a few days later. However, on the other hand their could be an alternative hypothesis where the gum could create a great build up in the intestines and harm the body.
The National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) says that since a chewing gum type substance has been around since the time of the cavemen, there would be more information on the topic if it was really though to be doing a ton of harm. But since the only foreseeable outcome is bad constipation for a short period of time if a child swallows a lot of gum, then there is not much research left to do.
So, we know gum doesn’t stay in your system for 7 years. But what happens to it while it is inside you?
While the food is being digested and all the good parts of food (and gum int his case) are being absorbed into the body, the rubber part of the gum is left sitting in your stomach, immune to the acids inside you. So when it does come time for the gum to pass through, it is nothing more than rubbery remnants of the gum that once was.
So the bottom line, don’t swallow chewing gum. It;s meant to be chewed and spit out. Although it won’t reside in your intestines for 7 years, why risk the potential uncomfort of constipation and the everlasting pain that swalowing gum comes with. If you need ot put your gum down for a while, you can always stick it behind your ear. 😉