“Make sure that you don’t swallow the gum. It can otherwise stay stuck in your stomach and make you sick.” How often have you heard this phrase growing up? If you are someone like me who likes chewing gum, chances are that you have heard this quite often. But, what happens when you swallow gum?
The subject is so less talked about that people have been living in a circle of myth. Most of the outcomes that people deem as facts are nothing but a misconception.
Here, we are going to share whether or not the effects of swallowing chewing gum are as horrifying as you have heard growing up.
What happens when you swallow gum?
No, a piece of gum that you swallowed won’t grow into a tree in your stomach.
If you have heard such things growing up, know that it was just your parents trying to alert you. This is not exactly what happens.
When you swallow gum, it passes through your digestive tract in its intact form and is defecated out of your body within 40 hours.
This is a standard for every single thing that you eat.
The potential side effects of swallowed gum sets in when you have swallowed a lot of it within a short time span. This could later cause blockages in your intestine.
What is chewing gum made of?
If we go back in history, the chewing gum back then was derived from the sap of the sapodilla tree known as chicle. People did dabble and experiment with paraffin wax and spruce too but chicle turned out to be the best option.
Following urbanization and the rapid growth of science and technology, the gum that we eat today are made from a gum base with synthetic rubber. These are indigestible and do not break down.
The manufacturers do add flavorings and plasticizers to them to make them more appealing and palatable.
Some of the variants of gums like the gumballs have a hard polyol coating surrounding it as well.
But, if you have been wondering about the effects of chewing gum if swallowed, know for a fact that doing it every once in a while on accident does no bad to your body.
According to the reports from the FDA, it is suggested that chewing gum is a food type that comes with no nutritional value. This is the reason why one can’t replace it for actual food, be it for kids or even for adults.
So, while swallowing a piece of gum might not induce any kind of bad impacts for your body, it is important that you not make a habit out of it.
Can the swallowed gum cause stomach or intestinal problems?
When it comes to queries of what happens when you swallow gum, the first question people fret about is their stomach and intestinal health.
Many have this notion that swallowing the gum accidentally might end up causing pain or blockages in the stomach.
To be honest, that is not what happens. Yes, it is true that the swallowed gum can’t be digested but that doesn’t mean that it will stay stuck in your intestine forever.
Unless you have swallowed a lot of gum within a few hours, it is likely that nothing is going to happen to your stomach or intestines.
How to remove swallowed chewing gum?
The chewing gum that you have accidentally swallowed can’t be retrieved back.
That is how it works. You can’t necessarily believe that you can dig your finger back inside your throat to get it back. Don’t even try to do that.
If you have swallowed the gum completely and you know it has travelled down through your food pipe, you have to wait till it is excreted out through your stools.
Other times, if you have the gum stuck inside your throat, you can push it back up with the vomiting gesture and the pressure might help in pushing it back to the mouth after which you can spit it out.
The latter is a rare case, so you won’t experience this quite often.
But, stay assured that if you swallowed a gum accidentally, the same won’t cause any kind of harm to your body.
So, you don’t have to fret about removing it. Your body will ensure to do that naturally for you.
When should one see a doctor?
As unnerving as it sounds, you need to seek a doctor’s advice only in extreme cases.
If you have swallowed a lot of gum within a short span of time, stay alert and look out for any symptoms of stomach ache and discomfort.
If the symptoms are persistent, it is better that you get the same checked out by a doctor to check for any blockages in the intestine.
Blockages can take a quick turn for the worse which is not something you want. If the blockage is big, the doctors might perform surgery to get rid of the same.
But, this is only in extreme conditions and when you witness noticeable symptoms.
Should children be allowed to chew gums?
If you have a child less than 5 years of age, it is always best that you avoid giving them chewing gums. Since they wouldn’t know of the concept of chewing, it is likely that they might end up swallowing it, resulting in a choking hazard for them.
Once they realize the concept of swallowing and spitting out of the chewing gum, it is safe to give them that. But, still, then, try and give this as a treat and not something that they have easy access to.
If you have been wondering what happens when you swallow gum, we have sorted you out with all the factual answers. Don’t be misled into thinking things way out of the picture. Accidentally swallowing a piece of gum won’t cost you your life, so don’t worry about that at all. But, if you notice something amiss, see a doctor to get things cleared out.