- First Aid
Swallowing Gum - The Rumours
Can you remember as a child, that lengthy debate that you had with your friends about swallowing gum? All those rumours put around by parents and teachers about it sticking to your insides, blocking your appendix, wrapping round your lungs and generally not leaving your body for around seven years!
Well, what actually does happen when you swallow gum … do the above facts have any bearing on reality?
Swallowing Gum - The Facts
Well, basically, our digestive system attempts to break down, dissolve and excrete absolutely everything that we eat. This process can happen over a period of hours or possibly days depending on what we have eaten but the acids and enzymes take care of everything that we put into our stomachs and nothing would stay there for a year, let alone seven. This is then broken down with the help of the liver and used to create fuel and energy for ourselves. Whatever is unusable ends up in the colon and turns into waste which is eventually excreted.
Although gum contains chemicals that prevent the gum being broken down as we chew it, these same chemicals have little or no resistance against the voracious digestive system that we possess.
The Gum Myth Dispelled
So, the seven years theory is purely a myth, possibly created by an extremely rare case that passed into folklore many years ago and is dragged out by parents worldwide to deter their kids from eating too much gum.
Whilst it probably isn’t a great idea to eat gum, thousands, if not millions of kids do it every day with no bad results. In fact, if more kids swallowed gum, perhaps our pavements and sidewalks would not look such a mess!!
So, swallowing gum is on the whole harmless so keep on chewing and if you really must, swallowing gum … It won’t do you any harm at all.