Fact or Myth: Does Gum Stay in Your Stomach for 7 Years?

This is a MYTH.

We were warned as kids not to swallow our gum because it stays in our stomachs for 7 years. Another old wives’ tale I’m afraid. While swallowing gum is certainly not the best thing you can do for your health, it’s generally pretty harmless. Read on to learn why.

Taking chewing gumWhat Happens to Gum Once It’s Swallowed

It’s true that your body can’t digest the synthetic portions of gum, but that doesn’t mean it takes up residence in your stomach for 7 years. It moves out of your stomach and into your intestines, and is eventually eliminated with your stool.

Now, a problem could theoretically arise if you were to swallow large amounts of chewing gum in a short time span. The gum technically could glob together and become lodged in your gastrointestinal tract. But…that’s highly unlikely to happen, and if it did occur it’d be much sooner than 7 years time.

As far as the dangers of swallowing gum, they’re pretty much the same as the problems linked to chewing gum. Chewing gum causes you to swallow excess air, which can contribute to gastrointestinal distress such as bloating and abdominal pain.

Chewing gum has also been associated with tooth decay, and may even cause mercury to be released from any mercury fillings you might have. Not to mention, most gums are made with artificial sweeteners, which wreak havoc on your health.