Myth or truth?
Every child has grown up with the warning that swallowed chewing gum will sit in their stomach for seven whole years. Though this is an old wive’s tale, told to children to stop them from chewing too much gum and from swallowing it, there is some truth behind this statement.
What is chewing gum made of?
Chewing gum is primarily made of natural or synthetic materials (gum resin), flavourings, sweeteners and preservatives.
What happens to chewing gum in the stomach?
When chewing gum is swallowed, it travels down the digestive tract and comes out with a trip to the bathroom. Along the way, the digestive system absorbs the flavourings, sweeteners and preservatives. However, the body cannot break down and absorb gum resin, which is passed through the body undigested.
What if my child accidentally swallowed gum?
If a child swallows too much gum or several smaller pieces of gum, it can combine with other undigested food to cause intestinal blockages. This could cause stomach aches, visits to the doctor and in the worst case, a trip to the hospital.
Is swallowing gum harmful?
Swallowed chewing gum rarely leads to such extreme scenarios. But chewing too much gum can also lead to cavities and ingestion of large amounts of sugar. Too much of any chewing gum or candy can be harmful and sweet treats should always be eaten in moderation.