There is a traditional belief that when you swallow a chewing gum, it stays in your stomach for seven years. However, this folklore suggestion is not true.
In case you swallow a gum, your body is unable to digest it. But, the gum doesn’t stay in your stomach. Rather, it moves through your digestive system until it gets to your colon.
The gum is designed to be chewed, and the medical experts advise that it shouldn’t be swallowed. Here is what happens to your body when you swallow a gum.
What Happens to a Swallowed Gum?
When you swallow a chewing gum, your digestive system treats it just like any other food. Some parts of the gum, such as the flavorings, the sweeteners, and the softeners, are broken down by your body’s enzymes.
The nutrients that can be used by the body are saved while the rest of the gum is pushed through the digestive system.
Nevertheless, there is a part of the gum, the gum base, which cannot be digested. This part consists of elastomers, waxes, emulsifiers, resins, and fats that are developed to make the gum chewy.
Even though these chemicals resist digestion, they don’t remain in your stomach. Instead, they are moved through the digestive system until they are eventually removed from your body.
According to the doctors, a swallowed gum requires about two days to be digested and eliminated.
Is Swallowing Gum Damaging to Your Health?
Swallowing a chewing gum is usually harmless to your health. However, this is not a recommended practice since it can lead to problems in your digestive system.
Although this can occur in extremely rare occasions, the health professionals still advise against swallowing gum.
The medical experts point out that swallowing many small pieces of gum in a short period of time or a large mass of gum at once can block the digestive tract.
The blockage most commonly appears when a gum is swallowed with other indigestible materials, such as sunflower seeds, or some foreign objects, such as coins.
This usually occurs in little children because they have a smaller digestive tract than the adults, and because they may not understand that the gum shouldn’t be swallowed.
Moreover, if you swallow a large mass of gum, it can get lodged in your air pipe, which can lead to choking. Nevertheless, this can also occur by swallowing a large piece of food.
The chewing gum doesn’t have any nutritional value, so most of the doctors advise against swallowing it.
The chances of harming your health by swallowing a chewing gum are barely existent, but the purpose of the gum is to be chewed until its flavor is gone, so you shouldn’t swallow it purposefully.