Throughout your entire childhood, you probably heard the rumor that swallowing your gum will stay in your stomach for an entire seven years. This made you completely terrified to swallow your gum and you avoided it at all costs. But did you ever really check the facts, and see what scientists know about this?
Well, regardless, if you did, in fact, swallow gum by accident, you are actually in the clear and can calm down now. According to a study that traced the digestive system, some of the gum that we can actually be swallowed, and the gum you swallowed years ago is probably not still sitting in your stomach.
There are three components of digestion. The first one the mechanical process that is needed in order to process food when you first chew and ingest it. The second component is when the enzymes or protein in the stomach and saliva are used to break down the food. The third and last component is acids. These acids dissolve whatever is leftover in your body into a form that can be passed through your intestines.
Generally, when you eat, your tongue and teeth together break the food into small pieces. The muscle movements push the food through the digestive tract until it gets emptied into the stomach and mixed with digestive juices.
During this process, the enzymes within your saliva, intestines and stomach liquids create a chemical process which enables you to convert the food into nutrients, which your body needs. The acids in your stomach then start to work and dissolve what is left of that food into something that your body can handle and then dispose of.
Gum, however, is not a food that has been designed to be digested by your body comfortably like other regular food. This is because it contains a rubber base, giving it that unique consistency. Usually, butyl rubber is used in gum and makes the perfect amount of chewiness.
And since gum is not affected by your teeth crushing it, this is the whole idea. When you swallow gum, its goes through your digestive tract into your stomach as one large piece.
Although your enzymes can break down the oils, alcohols, and carbohydrates in the gum, just like they do with regular food, the rubber base cannot be broken down by these enzymes. Even all of the acids in your stomach cannot handle this unbreakable rubber base, and therefore your gum stays intact through your entire digestive system process.
However, there are certain other foods such as corn and sunflower seeds that do the exact thing. So although your digestive system cannot break down gum, it does not prevent your muscles from eventually pushing them through your body within a few days. There is hope.