Oh no! I’ve probably swallowed a gum or two in my life!
Almost everyone has swallowed a piece of gum or two, but few kids have ever needed a doctor because of it. You might have heard that swallowed gum stays in your stomach for 7 years—and I hate to break it out to you—but it isn’t true. Though gum isn’t digestible, it wouldn’t stay in your stomach for 7 years, so don’t worry about that. But swallowing gum can be dangerous, too!
There are several benefits of chewing gum, including combating bad breath and helping cigarette smokers quit—but swallowing gum is another story. Apparently, 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.
Chewing gum is made of either natural or synthetic materials (gum resin), preservatives, flavorings, and sweeteners. The body can absorb sweeteners, such as sugar, but the human digestive tract can’t digest the gum resin. It’s moved through the digestive tract by the normal pushing (peristaltic) actions of the gut. The gum’s journey ends during a trip to the bathroom.
Though swallowing a small piece of gum once in a while can be harmless, we suggest you don’t.