Swallowing gum is commonly believed to result in the gum staying in the stomach for seven years. However, this is simply a myth. Swallowed gum passes through the stomach and intestines unchanged before being excreted. It is only harmful to the body if swallowed in excessive amounts, which is very rare. Chewing gum has no nutritional value and is made of gum-based sweeteners, flavorings, and scents. Before it became commercialized, gum was used by ancient peoples to stave off thirst and hunger. The Mayans chewed on chicle, a natural latex that comes from the sapodilla tree, while the Pima Indians chewed on spruce tree sap. While swallowing gum is not a concern for most people, it can cause issues for those with gastrointestinal tract problems or narrowings caused by inflammation, Crohn’s disease, certain surgeries, or types of cancer.
Swallowing gum does not cause any harm or get stuck in your stomach for years, contrary to common belief. The myth likely originated as a way to discourage children from chewing gum. Normally, swallowed gum will pass through the digestive system and be excreted unchanged. Swallowing three or more pieces of gum per day would be considered excessive and may cause an obstruction in infants and children, but such cases are rare. Chewing gum has no nutritional value and is made from various ingredients that do not contribute to a healthy diet. However, ancient civilizations such as the Mayans and Pima Indians used natural latex from trees like the sapodilla and spruce to chew on and stave off thirst and hunger.
While swallowing gum is generally not a cause for concern, it may pose issues for individuals with gastrointestinal tract problems or narrowings. Conditions like Crohn’s disease, certain surgeries, or types of cancer can cause inflammation and narrowing of the GI tract. In such cases, consuming indigestible substances like gum may lead to problems. Doctors usually recommend a low-residue diet for patients with Crohn’s disease, which avoids foods like gum that cannot be broken down easily. However, it is important to note that instances of gum causing physical problems are extremely rare. Overall, for the average person without any underlying health issues, swallowing gum accidentally will not have any long-term effects.