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How Harmful is Gum in Your Stomach?

by Uldreich Sam Crisostomo September 18, 2017

How Harmful is Gum in Your Stomach?

Although gum is not technically a food to be 'de-mythed', it is chewed and occasionally swallowed. It is true that gum cannot be digested the way food is in the stomach. Gum is composed of synthetic or natural materials (the gum resin or bulk) and other flavorings and sweeteners to enhance its appeal. Although the body can absorb the sweeteners and sugars, the resin remains undigested. Peristaltic movements, or wave-like muscle movements, do a good job on pushing the gum resin through the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. Although swallowing large amounts of gum can create constipation and GI distress, the gum's lifespan in the gut will not last seven years and will end its quick journey during a trip to the bathroom.

Swallowing a large mass of gum, or many small pieces of gum over a short period of time, can block the digestive tract in rare cases. Blockage is most likely when gum is swallowed along with foreign objects, like coins, or when swallowed with non-digestible materials like sunflower seeds. Little kids are most likely to be affected because they might not understand that gum is chewed, not swallowed.

But apart from these strange scenarios, swallowing an occasional piece of gum is harmless.
Uldreich Sam Crisostomo
Uldreich Sam Crisostomo



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