Does Gum Stay In Your System for Years?

My mom always used to tell me not to swallow my gum or it would be stuck inside my stomach for seven years. This always scared me as a child because, like most people, I have swallowed my gum. I remember thinking I was doomed because the gum would be sitting in my stomach for the next seven years. As I got older I stopped swallowing my gum as much, but I also stopped pondering this question. Then about a week ago,one of my dear friends suddenly brought the question to light, and all of a sudden I got nervous again. So, I thought I would try to research the topic and come to a conclusion: Does gum stay in your system for years?

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According to the Yale Scientific, gum does not stay in your system for seven years. The article goes on to say it probably doesn’t even stay in your system for more than seven days because the ingredients and sugar in the gum breakdown, just like normal food. While it might take slightly longer for the gum to leave your system, and while it might leave looking similar to what it did when it entered your body, the digestive system will still move the gum out of your body safely. However, the article also states that the leftover residue from the gum can sometimes line the esophagus and cause problems swallowing. Also the sorbitol found in sugarless gums can cause stomach pains and sometimes diarrhea. This is very rare though, and most of the time your gum will simply leave your system without causing you any sort of harm.

Students at Ohio State University found the same results and had the same explanation. They say that the intestines pass things much more intense than gum. So as long as you aren’t making it a habit to swallow your gum, especially in large amounts, your digestive system will move it right out into your stool. (Sorry for the image) They say there is no way it can stay in your stomach for seven years, especially with the way the stomach breaks down its foods.

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So, clearly this is a myth that has been debunked and is one we do not have to worry about. I would not recommend purposely swallowing your gum or consuming large quantities of gum at one time, but I think the occasional mishap will not cause you any serious harm. So the next time somebody tells you that your gum will be stuck in your system for years, you can now prove them wrong. It may be a slightly grossly detailed story, but now you know the truth behind swallowing your gum.

2 thoughts on “Does Gum Stay In Your System for Years?

  1. Chris North

    It makes a lot of sense that something as small as gum would pass through your system quickly. When I was young I swallowed a penny by accident and it went through my system in under a week. Seems logical that if a metal disk can make it through your stomach, a small malleable piece of rubber can make the same journey. Here’s something I found about what happens when you swallow a penny:

  2. Zachariah Watkins

    I am glad you wrote this article because as a child I too was scared of this, every time I swallowed my gum I would tell my mom as my head hung down and then pray my gum did not hurt me. But looking back now after reading this article I just shake my head because that was such a waste of time over something so minor. One question I have though is do you believe parents tell this to their kids because they were told that when they were younger by their parents or do you believe this is a recent thing? This article also dispels some bad myths about gum.

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