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You must have heard lots of ‘legends regarding swallowing a chewing gum. However, not all that you have heard is true. So, what is actually happening when you accidentally swallow a chewing gum? Let us get to the bottom of these myths and unveil the truth. Here you will be able to read the explanation for your query with the help of Dr Lisa Ganjhu, who is a gastroenterologist and clinical associate professor of medicine at the NYU Langone Medical Center.
Myth: One of the ‘well known’ myth is that chewing gums cannot be digested.
Truth: However, it is very difficult to tell this since each and every chewing gum is different based on its chemical makeup. Moreover, everybody is, of course, different. The more processed the things are, then it becomes more difficult to digest. If it is less natural, it will take longer to digest.
Myth: The next myth is about the sugarless gum. It is said that sugarless gum is harder on the digestive system.
Truth: Here again, it doesn’t actually make a difference from that viewpoint. Gum, in general, is not a natural form. However, it is hard to tell when exactly it gets digested. This is because no one has ever has taken a deep look to view the pieces of gum in the stool.
Myth: When you swallow the gum, it will remain in the stomach for seven years.
Truth: The truth regarding this is that even if you swallowed gum when you were at the age of seven, it is not still going to get stuck in there somewhere.
Myth: The funniest myth of all is that when you swallow a chewing gum, yu are going to grow a chewing gum tree inside you.
Truth: This is definitely a ‘NO’. No further explanations needed, I guess.
Myth: Some bits and pieces of the chewing gum get stuck inside you forever.
Truth: There are isolated cases that it can get accumulated and get stuck. However, that could indicate that you don’t have a normal digestive tract to start with. When you chew gum long enough, it becomes hard and eventually all of the acidity and chemicals present in our body will harden it and split it into smaller and smaller pieces. Later on, it will get covered up in the stool, and you poop it out.
She says that one analogy you can view at is the popcorn kernels or even corn in general. You may find that you can see corn in your stool, and that will be completely undigested. If you happen to swallow gum and take a look inside the stomach, it will be difficult to gauge when it breaks down. However, it’s also not going to stick around inside the stomach. It will eventually get harder and then move out. Then they become smaller pieces that get covered up in stool and come out. There will be nothing to get absorbed from it and hence there is no nutritional value. It gradually gets small enough to go through your digestive track.
Myth: When you swallow more gum, it increases the chances for damage
Truth: Consider that you ate 50 pieces of gum and it all gradually forms one giant ball (which is practically not going to happen). You don’t actually know what could happen, but gradually everything will pass through. Nothing actually gets hung up in there totally.
Myth: So, in total, doctors think that it’s completely fine if you swallow a gum
Truth: Though it is not logical, it is always better to spit the gum out when you are done with it rather than swallow it.