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Иван Титов

Chewing gum: What happens after it accidentally enters our stomach?

Have you heard the myth about chewing gum: if swallowed, it will remain in the intestine for 7 years? If you have children, do not panic ahead of time. In fact, chewing gum will not be in the body for a long time, but it will also not be able to digest. So what will happen to her? Let’s figure it out.

What is gum made of?

At first, chewing gum was made from chicle, latex sap from sapodilla tree. There were other raw materials, for example, paraffin wax. But it was believed that the cycle, which is the same as natural rubber, was the best option. It does not break down, even if you chew it for a long time.

Then the scientists decided to invent a synthetic chewing gum, which was based on artificial rubber. It has the same properties as the cycle. In addition, it is much easier to add flavorings and dye to such materials.

If the gum gets into the human body, it will not change much, going through the entire digestive tract. Neither gastric juice nor the process of digestion itself will be able to destroy it.

From point A to point B

As a rule, when food enters the gastrointestinal tract, it is crushed and digested. Through the esophagus, which is much stronger than the small intestine, food enters the stomach. And this is where the laborious process of digestion begins. The food is mixed with gastric juice, enzymes and crushed by the walls of the organ.

Then this mass passes into the small intestine, where its grinding and destruction with the help of bacteria continues. Various nutrients are also absorbed here. After careful digestion in the small intestine, the remaining mass moves smoothly into the colon. Excess fluid is absorbed through the walls of the intestine until the fecal masses reach the desired consistency for further excretion from the body. Well, then undigested leftovers come out at the next visit to the toilet room.

However, in the case of chewing gum, the digestion process occurs in a slightly different way. As the digestive tract passes, the gum does not change its consistency, despite the effects of acid, gastric juice, compression of the stomach walls, and so on. At the exit, you will be able to see the chewing gum in almost the same condition as it was before swallowing. However, not everything is as good as it may seem. In fact, getting chewing gum into the body may not affect your health in the best way.

How long does the gum stay in the body?

There is a long-standing myth that chewing gum will be in the body for 7 years if it is accidentally swallowed. But in fact, this statement is fundamentally wrong. Almost every person has swallowed chewing gum at least once in their life (most likely in childhood). And if at least one of them could stay in the body for such a long time, doctors would have found traces of gum in the gastrointestinal tract anyway.

If you have swallowed only 1 chewing gum, then it will pass through the body in less than a week. The smell, taste, color and sugar contained in it will most likely disappear, but the consistency of the gum will remain unchanged. Everything will happen exactly this way, only if you do not swallow gum with enviable regularity.

Other possible negative consequences

However, regardless of how long the swallowed chewing gum will be removed from the body, information about its benefits is just a marketing ploy. In fact, scientists have proven that it is harmful. During chewing gum, a sufficiently large amount of saliva and air is produced and swallowed, which can cause various health problems, ranging from bloating to ulcers.

On the other hand, chewing gum may help accelerate tissue healing after intestinal surgery. However, the results are ambiguous. In addition, the harm from chewing gum is much greater than the imaginary pleasure. Teeth suffer, because of the large amount of sugar, bacteria multiply and cause caries, glutamate and flavor enhancer, which are part of chewing gum, destroy nerve cells. Of course, it’s up to you to chew gum or not. The main thing to remember is that it is not worth swallowing.

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