My grandmother told me that if I swallow my gum, it will stay in my stomach for seven years. I’ve never been sure if grandmother’s actually believe that or just enjoy the scare tactic on their grandkids. Either way we need to know, does gum actually stay in your stomach for 7 years?
The simple answer is no. It does not. It may be passed through a little slower than most foods, but it does eventually pass out your body.
It is believed that the folklore about chewing gum came about when manufacturers labeled gum as indigestible since the gum’s base is not digestible. However, other ingredients such as sweeteners, flavoring, softeners and preservatives, are.
How do you get rid of swallowed gum? You let it pass. Very few things are either too large to pass or get lodged in the intestine and are unable to pass. Naturally, nothing would stay that long in your stomach.
How long does bubble gum stay in your body? In the case of chewing gum, your body can break down most of the gum’s components, but the base, which is the latex or rubber, will pass through your body naturally in a few days tops.
Can swallowing gum cause a problem? Since gum can be passed through the body, there is not normally any problem when you swallow it, however, there have been some cases of issues. Many years ago, a few children who were considered chronic gum chewers developed intestinal and esophageal obstructions.
Also, sometimes the additive sorbitol, which is used in sugarless gum, can lead to diarrhea and abdominal pain while cinnamon, another common additive, has been known to lead to mouth ulcers. Also, repetitive swallowing of gum can lead to constipation.
Even though swallowing your gum is not considered harmful, the pros say it’s always best to spit your gum out instead.