What DOES Happen to Chewing Gum When You Swallow It?
Remember When Your Mom Said It Would Stay in Your Stomach for 10 Years? Oh, Mom
'Fess up: you've been known to not only accidentally swallow your chewing gum, but to do it on purpose every now and then, too, right? We get it … sometimes a stick of Juicy Fruit or a fruity piece of Bubble Yum just tastes so good.
But you also remember what your mom and maybe even your teacher would tell you about swallowing gum: that it would stay in your body for 10 years; that it would, for lack of a better word, gum up your system; that, if your eight-your-old brain jumped to the same conclusion ours did, you might not be able to go Number Two anymore.
How adorkable were all of us?
Anyhoo, at last, and because we haven't bothered in the post-age eight years to find out what actually does happen when we swallow gum, MNN.com has the answer, and it turns out mom wasn't totally just messing with our little minds.
Does swallowed gum stay in your system for a decade or seven years or even seven days? No.
Thanks to the same action that moves food through our bods -- an involuntary muscle contraction and relaxation system called peristalsis -- the gum, too, will pass on through to the other side, MNN.com reports. Or other end, as is more accurate in this instance.
But, when mom warned that swallowed gum could wreak some havoc with your innards, she was not wrong. Swallowing a lot of gum in a short period of time, or swallowing too big a hunk of gum at once, can indeed cause the gum to gunk up your digestive track.
And that's why, as MNN.com points out, you may want to hold off on letting the kiddies have gum until they're old enough to understand the potential problems of swallowing it.
In other words, make sure they're old enough to be sufficiently freaked out when you, like your mother before you, tell them the gum's staying in their tummies for the next 10 years.
Aw, what the heck, you want better for your kids, right? Tell 'em 20 years.