Here’s What Happens In Your Body When You Swallow Gum | The Human Body

– [Instructor] You may have heard from your second grade teacher
that if you swallow gum, it could stay in your stomach forever or worse, it could grow into
a rubber tree in your stomach. Well, that’s true, so don’t do it. (peppy instrumental music) Okay, maybe not. Swallowing chewing gum isn’t
really gonna plant trees in your stomach, but that’s no reason to start doing it regularly. Here’s what happens to your
body when you swallow gum. When you eat standard food,
three processes go to work in your body to turn that food into fuel. The first is obvious, it’s chewing. The process breaks food down into smaller and smaller pieces, increasing the surface area. Meanwhile, saliva coats those
pieces, delivering enzymes that help break down the food. Finally, once swallowed, the stomach acids turn any
remaining food pieces into mush. This lets the food pass through the rest of your digestive track smoothly, but gum doesn’t play by those rules. As much as you chew it, gum doesn’t break into smaller pieces. That’s because it’s gum, duh! Gum has been around much
longer than you think. Ancient Mayans and Aztecs harvested resin from a sapodilla tree. They would dry it into a chaw and chew it to stave off hunger. Even back then, it was also recognized as a breath freshener. However, most gum today
is made from natural or synthetic polymers,
most commonly butyl rubber. It’s used in all kinds of products, including adhesives, fiber
optics, sealants, cling film, paper, fuel, explosives,
sporting equipment, roofing, bottle stoppers, and tires. But don’t worry, the butyl in
your gum won’t make you sick. That’s because it can’t be broken down. The wad of chewing gum
hits your stomach intact. Your saliva enzymes and your stomach acid can’t touch the butyl in the gum base, but that doesn’t mean it just hangs out. Your body is equipped to handle
gum the same way it deals with other food that
it can’t fully digest, like corn and sunflower seeds. (peppy instrumental music) The muscles of your
digestive tract move it along and eventually flush it out of
your system in a day or two, along with everything else. So, no, the gum doesn’t stay in your body when you swallow it, but that’s no reason to start
gulping it down by the pack. The more gum your body has to process, the higher likelihood
that it will build up. This gum mass can potentially
clog your digestive tract, causing an intestinal blockage which can trigger stomach
pain or constipation. There’s a lovely name for
this blockage, a bezoar. An 18-year-old Israeli woman once suffered from a bezoar that blocked her stomach. The problem? Turns out she had been
swallowing at least five pieces of gum every day. The blockage had grown so large
that doctors had to break it into smaller pieces and then fish it out
of her piece by piece. But chewing gum alone isn’t
necessarily bad for you. A couple of small studies
have shown that the act of chewing gum can
actually help relax you, because it can help
reduce levels of cortisol, a common stress hormone, in your saliva. Feel free to unwrap a stick. You won’t be alone, 56%
of Americans chew gum, each about 280 sticks per year. It’s a two billion dollar
industry in the U.S., but be wary of swallowing
it once you’re done. The occasional piece of gum won’t hurt, but with everything else your
body already does for you, why put it through the extra work? Also, don’t spit it out on the ground. That’s just gross. Find a trashcan, like a normal person.

100 Replies to “Here’s What Happens In Your Body When You Swallow Gum | The Human Body

  1. If you want to spit out the gum in the trash can, spit the gum in a tissu first or the gum sticks into the trash can.

  2. I chewed my juicy fruit gum for 2 hours and it turned to bitter liquid powder so yes gum can turn to a liquid ;-;

  3. Is it okay to swallow over 14 gum? My brother scared me by saying that it will stick inside forever and I’ll die. I’m traumatized

  4. I’ve ever tried gum and the next day I didn’t want to chew gum anymore because I was scared I would accidentally swallow it 😂

  5. Regarding what wiki said

    Gum does not stay in ur stomach your whole life

    It at least takes 7 years to digest.

  6. Wait.. did he say forever? I thought it was only 7 years!? HELP ME I'VE BEEN SWALLOW GUM ALL THE TIME WHEN I EAT GUM!! SEND HELP! ToT

  7. Everytime I think of swallowing gum I think about the time I watched 1000 ways to die and that girl swallowed gum and it got stuck in her throat

  8. Not for nothing, but I once has a bezoar (I did not swallow a ton of gum) and it was incredibly painful, plus the emergency surgery and medicine were not friendly to my wallet.
    Kids, stay away from bezoars, don't swallow too much gum.

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