Medical student reveals the truth about chewing gum

Does chewing gum REALLY stay in your stomach for seven years? Medical student, 23, finally reveals the truth about the common myth – and what happens when it’s swallowed

  • A medical student revealed the truth about whether gum lasts for seven years
  • Justin said swallowing chewing gum generally won’t harm your insides overly
  • However, it can cause a blockage of your intestines if you swallow too much
  • Justin said he in no way recommends that anyone swallow chewing gum 

A medical student has revealed the truth about chewing gum, and whether it really does your body any harm if you swallow it.

Justin, 23, from Canada, who goes by JustinMedSchool on TikTok, explained that despite the fact that many of us grow up thinking swallowed chewing gum will harm our insides and make you die earlier, it generally won’t do your body any lasting damage.

‘I grew up thinking chewing gum stays in your stomach for seven years, makes you die earlier and sticks your intestines together,’ Justin posted on TikTok.

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A medical student has revealed the truth about chewing gum, and whether it really does your body any harm if you swallow it (Justin, 23, from Canada, pictured)

‘[But] it generally isn’t harmful. And the gum usually moves through your digestive system and excretes intact.’

Thousands of people who watched the video online were impressed with the medical student’s knowledge.

Many said they weren’t aware of all of this, and their ‘lives have been a lie’.

‘I swallowed a HUGE chunk of gum when I was seven,’ one commenter wrote. 

‘I’m 26 now and [am] wondering if it’s still inside me.’

While Justin admitted that swallowing gum generally won’t do you much harm, he did say that on the whole it is not advised.

‘There are definitely no benefits to swallowing gum,’ the medical student wrote in the comments section.

‘It can be a choking hazard and it can get blocked in your digestive tract.’ 

Another commenter added: ‘Drink cold water if you swallow gum by accident, it hardens the gum and lets it out through your body more conveniently’.

Health information on Healthline revealed that while your body cannot digest gum, a piece of chewing gum will typically pass through your system inside 40 hours (stock image)

What is chewing gum made from?

* Prior to World War II, gum was made with chicle – the sap from the Central American sapodilla tree – with added flavourings.

* The majority of gum today is made of gum base. This is a combination of polymers, plasticisers, and resins. It’s usually mixed with food-grade softeners, preservatives, sweeteners, colors, and flavorings. 

* Often, gum has a powdered or hard polyol coating. 

* The exact ingredients and measurements of ingredients in gum bases are the intellectual property ‘trade secrets’ of gum manufacturers. 

Source: Healthline 

Health information on Healthline supports Justin’s claims that if you accidentally swallow a piece of chewing gum, you have little to worry about. 

‘Your body can’t digest gum, but a piece of swallowed gum will usually pass through your digestive system – basically intact – and come out in your stool about 40 hours later,’ the information reads.

Healthline state that it is only a cause for worry if you swallow a large amount of gum in a short period of time, which could lead to a blockage of your intestines.

‘The symptoms of a blockage typically include abdominal pain and constipation, sometimes accompanied by vomiting. 

‘If you think you have an intestinal blockage, see your doctor,’ Healthline reports. 

It’s generally safe to chew gum although many believe the sugar or sugar substitutes in gum aren’t healthy for children. 

The most important thing to remember is that children shouldn’t chew it until they are old enough to know that they shouldn’t swallow it. 

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