kids we all hear the famous warning; “Don’t swallow your gum!” “It will
stay in your stomach forever!” Naturally, many children are so >terrified by the prospect of having gum clogging
up their stomachs that they rarely risk swallowing after they have
finished chewing. However, does it really stay in your stomach forever?
While indeed gum is not good for your body it doesn’t stay in your
stomach forever. However, it will stick with you for a long
The most common warning is that gum will stay
in your stomach for seven years if you swallow it. However, the
human digestive system is capable
of dissolving and excreting whatever we put through it in a matter
of hours. Particularly tricky substances can take longer,
but on average a few days is long enough for most substances to
leave your system. Years are therefore nothing more than an urban legend. In fact leading
stomach doctors have gone on the record to say that gum definitely doesn’t stay in
your stomach that long.
This is because the human digestive system
tends to be very good at what it does; the moment food enters your
stomach acids begin to break
it down. Afterwards food is then worked
on in the intestine, where it is broken
down into its constituent parts. These
parts are then used to fuel the body and give us
energy - the precise reason we eat in
the first place. The parts that can’t be used to fuel the body are
then sent to the colon and end up floating
in the toilet.
For the most part gum is made up of four components,
three of which our bodies can easily >break down. The flavorings, sweeteners and softeners used in gum are
all taken care of with little effort from the human digestive system.
However, it is the actual gum that the body has a hard time dealing
with; gum is usually made from synthetic substances, which
is what makes it chewy and stops it from breaking
apart in our mouths. Nevertheless, once swallowed the gum itself
is treated like all other types of food that the body has no use
for and is sent out.
However, while swallowing gum doesn’t result
in your stomach piling up with gum as you eat more and more, the
occasion medical case could explain why the urban legend
about gum remaining in your body for so long continues. One case
involved a boy suffering from chronic constipation for
a whole two years due to swallowing five to seven pieces of gum
each day. The cure for this condition was not pleasant either. Still, in
this case the gum was not in his system for anywhere near to seven
So while gum may not stay in your system for
many years the evidence still stands that
swallowing gum is not a good idea.