Watch What Happens to Swallowed Gum in Your Stomach
We’ve all heard the childhood myth that, if swallowed, chewing gum will remain stuck in the stomach for 7 years. Fortunately, science has proved this false. Butyl rubber, which puts the “chew” in chewing gum, is a synthetic rubber that allows you to enjoy gum without destroying rubber tree forests. Oddly enough, it’s also what intertubes are made of.
What happens to a piece of chewing gum when swallowed? Obviously, chewing gum doesn’t break down, like other foods, when chewed. It’s also resistant to the acids in your stomach and can withstand the normal decomposition process.
Why doesn’t gum break down like normal food?
The human body doesn’t have the necessary enzymes to break down the rubber polymers that gum is made of. In fact, rubber is really good at shielding itself from acids at large, which is why rubber gloves are a good form of protection.
If it doesn’t break down, does it stay in your stomach?
No. Your body can and will effectively move the chewing gum through your digestive system within a day or two.
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Thanks, science! Now, you can chew away worry-free! Well, kind of. Watch out for cavities caused by excessive gum-chewing; that myth hasn’t been recanted by science yet.