Ah, chewing gum. We all love you. You’re so sweet and chewy. We even love to blow bubbles with you. But every now and then we accidentally — gulp! — swallow you. Oh no! Is there anything to worry about?

Some of you may have heard an old wives’ tale that goes something like this: if you swallow gum, it will stay in your digestive system for seven years. Wow! That’s a long time, but is there any truth to it?

Nope! When you swallow gum, your digestive system (which includes parts of your body, like your stomach, small intestine and large intestine) treats the gum like any other food. Some of the parts of gum, such as sweeteners, softeners and flavorings, are broken down by the digestive juices in your stomach. Any nutrients your body can use are saved and the rest is pushed on through your digestive system.

There is one part of gum that can’t be digested, though. It’s the gum base or resin. Gum base consists of chemicals developed by scientists to make gum chewy. These chemicals resist digestion, but they don’t sit around in your stomach for seven years.

Instead, your body recognizes that it can’t digest the gum base and simply moves it along in the digestive process until it is eventually eliminated from your body. Doctors estimate it would usually take about two days to digest and eliminate any gum you may swallow.

Although swallowing gum is usually harmless, it’s not a good practice to swallow your gum regularly. Doctors point out that swallowing a large amount of gum at once or swallowing many smaller pieces in a short time span could lead — in rare cases — to problems in the digestive system.

So enjoy your chewing gum, but spit it out in the trash when you’re finished with it. Doctors also recommend you stick to sugar-free gums, so that you won’t put your teeth in jeopardy of developing cavities.

207 Join the Discussion

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    • That would be quite a sight, wouldn’t it, Rahul? Thanks so much for visiting today’s Wonder and leaving us another SUPER comment! :-)

  1. I wonder if that is the reason that some parents don’t let little children chew gum. My parents started to let me chew gum when I was about 6 or 7 years old. When I first started, my parents were cautious so I wouldn’t swallow the gum. Then I first started to blow bubbles when I was about 9. When I figured out I was surprised that I could do such a thing like that.

    • We think it’s really cool to learn you can blow a bubble for the first time, too, Cassidy! Thanks so much for sharing your personal connection to today’s Wonder about gum! :-)

    • Hi, Shundee! We sure appreciate you leaving us this comment today! Your stomach actually digests what it can from the swallowed gum and sends the rest of it on its way! Thanks for being a GREAT Wonder Friend! :-)

  2. Nothing really happens it just goes down your esophagus, and through your larynx and pharynx and to your stomach. It goes to other places but I don’t have time to put it up right now.. sorry.. That’s a lot of thinking.

    • That really IS a lot of thinking, Sydney! We think it ROCKS! Thanks for sharing your knowledge about what happens when you swallow gum! :-)

  3. Hey Guys, It is me again. Sorry I haven’t responded in a while. But anyway my Grandma, Grandpa, and cousin Michael have told me that gum stays in your digestive system for 7 yrs. So, I really do want to believe that but it is just that other people were misjudging me for that because I believed in it. I don’t think they should do that. Well I am gonna get off here comment you later.

    • We’re SUPER happy to hear from you today, Austin! We appreciate your comment…thanks for sharing what you and your family think about what happens if you swallow gum! :-)

    • We’re glad you used so many WONDERful adjectives to describe today’s Wonder, Caelah! Thanks for being a SUPER Wonder Friend! :-)

  4. I heard a lot of old wive’s tales and they are really funny! My parents say this when I eat the seeds inside of a watermelon that there will be a watermelon in my stomach. That really can’t happen, can it?

    • We don’t think so, Katlyn! We bet it is just like when you swallow gum…your stomach digests what it can from the watermelon seed, and sends the rest on its way! Thank you for hanging out in Wonderopolis today! :-)

  5. What happens when you swallow gum is that your stomach actually digests what it can from the swallowed gum and sends the rest of it on its way.

  6. Cool! Do you have any wonders about the Titanic? I think it would be cool to learn about it! I do think the subject is sad, but I like learning about it. I think tomorrows wonder is? Wait, I don’t know what tomorrows wonder is about. D: I’ll just HAVE to be on tomorrow so I can keep WONDERing! :D :D :D :D :D See ya!

    • We’ve done that before and it was soooo funny, Slaney! Thanks for helping us remember a super fun time we had blowing bubble gum today! :-)

    • It’s probably OK to accidentally swallow your gum once in a while, Hallie, but we shouldn’t swallow gum all the time. We invite you to re-explore today’s Wonder to find out why! :-)

    • That’s a GREAT question, bug! Did you know that many of the ideas for Wonders of the Day come from Wonder Friends just like YOU? It’s true! You can tell us what you’re WONDERing about any time you like by leaving us a comment or by clicking on the “nominate” button at the top of every page in Wonderopolis.org and filling in the boxes! It’s really easy and LOTS of fun! :-)

    • Thanks for letting us know you thought today’s Wonder was awesome, Chris! We liked learning about what happens if we swallow gum, and we’re glad you did, too! :-)

    • We have LOTS of Wonder Friends, so sometimes we get comments from two who share the same first name, Hunter! We think that’s SUPER COOL! :-)

    • We hope you’ll share with your brother what you learned by exploring today’s Wonder, Chris! We really enjoy hearing about families WONDERing together! :-)

    • Thanks so much for letting us know you enjoy the Wonders of the Day and learning in Wonderopolis, Tanner! We appreciate hearing that from you today! :-)

  7. We all love gum very, very much! The video was funny and many of us have had gum all over our face and in our hair. A girl in our class named Emma is a gum-a-holic. Do you know how many times each year the Bazooka Blow-Off happens? How big is the world record bubble gum bubble? We are VERY confused by tomorrow’s wonder. Can we get another hint, please? Thanks for everything! Can’t wait for tomorrow’s!~

    • That’s a great WONDER, Chris! We know from historical records and documentation, that over 2,000 people were passengers on the Titanic.

    • Hi, John! We appreciate your comment today! Sometimes the videos we choose for the Wonder of the Day® might explain the Wonder a little better, but sometimes they just add something “extra” to the Wonder experience! We think the video for this Wonder did just that! :-)

  8. Good to know. But I wouldn’t encourage children to chew gum. It’s really awful for you. The fake sweeteners and chemicals are harmful.

    • Thanks so much for hanging out in Wonderopolis with us today, Christina! We think it’s fun to learn new things even if we’ve never WONDERed about them before! We hope you enjoyed today’s Wonder! :-)

  9. Dear Wonderopolis,
    I didn’t know that chewing gum digests normally. I liked the video about the bubble gum blow off. Some of those bubbles were Huge!!!!!
    Even though swallowing gum does not affect you, it is still not okay because it could lead to digestive problems.

    • Thanks for sharing some of the COOL facts you learned by exploring today’s Wonder, Tyler! We think your comment ROCKS! :-)

  10. Hey Wonderoplis this is a great wonder. I really needed to know what happens if you swallow chewing because my parents always tell me not to swallow gum. Now that I know that it does not sit in your stomach I can tell them its harmless. But one question that I have is why does it take a long time to digest. And why is it bad to swallow a little amount at a time.? Do you think its safe to swallow bubble gum?.

    • Thanks for visiting today’s Wonder, Team Unger 15! We appreciate all your questions! We’re not sure why it takes so long to digest gum, but we know that it’s OK to swallow gum by accident every once in a while. We wouldn’t want it to become a habit, though! :-)

  11. Hi wonderopolis. Two new vocabulary words I learned are resin and old wive’s tale. Two new facts learned are sugar free gum is better for your teeth. Also Gum takes two days to digest. One last question I have was what happens when your gum doesn’t digest?

    Team Unger 6

    • Hello, Team Unger 6! We really like how you shared the new vocabulary words you learned and also some of the cool facts! Thanks for being a GREAT Wonder Friend! :-)

    • Hi, Zeek! Thank YOU for leaving us this GREAT comment…we’re super glad you stopped by Wonderopolis today! :-)

  12. Hey wonderopolis!!! I think that this is an amazing wonder, but I don’t like my children swallowing gum. I let them chew it, but they have to spit it out.

    • Thanks so much for sharing your views on chewing and swallowing gum, Mrs. Wilbanks! We think you are an AWESOME Wonder Friend! :-)

  13. Alle from Mr. Flinn’s Kindergarten class liked this wonder because she learned how long it takes to digest gum!!!

  14. Jason from Mr.Flinn’s Kindergarten class said he swallowed gum before!! He is no longer worried what will happen.

    • Whew! We’re glad we know not to be so worried when we accidentally swallow gum now, too, Jason! Thanks for visiting Wonderopolis today! :-)

  15. Hi, WONDEROPOLIS. IT SO COOL THAT YOU CAN DIGEST BUBBLE GUM IN TWO DAYS…WOW ! :) I never swallow bubble gum my class (Mrs. Phillips). Love the wonder. What is BUBBLE gum made out of? We love the hummingbird wonder. I wrote eight pages in my wonder journal. I had a lot of thinking. I also have hummingbirds in my back yard. I use sugar water. We read rashacas eggs, we really like the book. : ) Kelly made an egg with a crayon and Mrs. Phillips’ daughter made some with her friend :) :) :) :) Mrs . Phillips’ wonderful student, Allison

    • We REALLY enjoyed reading your comment today, Allison! We’re glad you learned about bubble gum, hummingbirds AND decorative eggs this week! We’re SUPER proud of you for writing eight pages in your Wonder Journal, too…WOW!

      Here is a Wonder that will tell you a little more about what gum is made out of: Wonder #12 – Who Came Up With Chewing Gum? http://wonderopolis.org/wonder/chewing-gum-101/. Happy WONDERing! :-)

  16. I have heard that before and I just swallowed my gum when I read this. I really like chewing gum.:}:}:}:}:}:}:}:}

    • Hello, Mrissa! Thanks for sharing your personal connection to today’s Wonder! We like chewing gum, too, but we’re still super careful not to swallow it! :-)

  17. I swallowed gum many times when I first started to chew gum. I sometimes do it by acccident. I love gum.

    p.s
    Can you please do a wonder about poptropica it is my favorite website.
    your wonder friend Julia

    • Hi, Julia! We bet lots of Wonder Friends accidentally swallowed gum when they were just learning how to chew it…we know we did! Thank you for sharing your personal connection to this Wonder! We hope you will visit Wonderopolis again tomorrow and join us as we all learn some cool new things! We hope Wonderopolis will become your favorite website, too! :-)

  18. Well,THAT’S a relief. Now I don’t have to worry about it! I think tomorrow’s wonder will be about bullies or something. Any who,
    K
    E
    E
    P

    W
    O
    N
    D
    E
    R
    I
    N
    G
    !

    • Thanks for leaving us another AWESOME comment, Joaquin! We really appreciate your creativity, and we’re super glad you stopped by Wonderopolis today! :-)

    • Thanks for sharing what you think about swallowing gum, Saad! We think it is probably possible to choke on gum if you have been chewing a lot of it. We hope all of our Wonder Friends are super careful when they chew gum! :-)

  19. Cool. I have swallowed gum and this is what I think gum stands for
    GRATE
    URANIUM
    MATH
    I LLLLLLLLLLLLLLLOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVEEEEEEEEEEE WONDEROPOLIS (^_^)

    • Happy Friday, Jackson! Thanks for leaving us this GREAT comment! We hope you had fun learning about gum in Wonderopolis today! :-)

  20. Wow!! I never even thought that resin resisted to the digesting process! I thought once it was in your stomach your life was endangered! I swallowed gum a total of 2 times. How many times have you swallowed gum? Maybe I should do an experiment on gum. Reply soon XD o_________o

    • We think a science experiment about gum sounds like FUN, Team McNeil22! We WONDER what kinds of cool things you will discover? We try not to swallow gum, but we have by accident before. We estimate that we’ve swallowed 3-5 pieces of gum in our lifetime. Thanks for sharing a cool fact you learned by exploring this Wonder of the Day®! :-)

  21. Hello Wonderopolis! This wonder was very interesting. I learned a lot of cool new facts. Here are three new facts I learned. When you swallow gum your stomach treats it like any other food. And I learned that one part of gum that cannot be digested is the resin or gum base. But it doesn’t sit in your stomach for seven years. The last fact I learned that I will share with you is that some parts of gum such as sweeteners, softeners, and flavorings are broken down by the digestive juices in your stomach. Two new vocabulary words I learned are resin and softener. One question I have is what ingredients in gum would surprise most people? Thank you!

    • We liked your comment very much, Team McNeil 20! You learned a LOT of cool new facts about what happens when you swallow gum! If we had to say just one ingredient in gum that would surprise most people, we would guess it would be synthetic rubber. It seems kind of weird to think about chewing flavored rubber, doesn’t it? Here’s another GUM-related Wonder we think you will enjoy:

      Wonder #451 – Why Does Gum Lose Its Flavor? http://wonderopolis.org/wonder/why-does-gum-lose-its-flavor/

      :-)

  22. Hellooooooooo wonderopolis people! I learned a lot of cool facts today. But here is three 1 there was a bubblegum bubble blowing contest. 2 there was a winner to that contest. 3 bubblegum can make a bubble large enough to win a contest. I also learned some vocab to here are 2 of the words. 1:resin 2:sweetener. My wonder question is why is there bubblegum?

    • Hello, Team McNeil 7! We think there is bubble gum so Wonder Friends around the world can have FUN blowing bubbles! We appreciate hearing about all the cool things you learned by visiting this Wonder of the Day®! :-)

  23. Hey guys!
    Actually one time I was chewing gum and I put a gummy in my mouth and they went together and acciently I swallowed them both!

    • Thanks for sharing your personal connection to this Wonder of the Day®, Kayla! We hope you have a WONDERful day! :-)

  24. Hey Wonderopolis. I have 2 vocab that I thought were important. They are swallow and sweetener. I also learned 2 new facts, the first one is there is only 1 part of the gum you can digest. The next fact I learned was an old wive’s tale that said it will stay in your system for 7 years. I can’t wait to wonder more!

    • We’re so excited to hear that you can’t wait to WONDER more in Wonderopolis, Team Unger 18! We think that ROCKS! Thanks for sharing all the cool things you learned by exploring this Wonder of the Day®! :-)

  25. HI,
    I love WONDERing! I have also loved gum, but got scared when I swallowed it. Now I know that it’s completely okay!!!! Really some part of the gum you can’t digest?? Can a gulp of water be as heavy as when you swallow gum??? Can’t chewing gum stop bad habits? This is one of my favorite WONDERs!!!
    Thanks Womderopolis!

    • You’re right about chewing gum helping some people with put an end to bad habits, Team Unger 21! Sometimes people who are trying to stop smoking or stop biting their nails chew gum to help them quit! Thanks for pointing that out for everyone, and THANKS for visiting this Wonder of the Day®! :-)

  26. I really love gum. But sometimes, I accidentally swallow gum. I get scared after swallowing the gum. I wonder if anything might happen to me, like something bad. I learned after reading this article that swallowing gum is sort of okay but the base of the gum stays in your digestive system for two days. There is a rare chance that swallowing gum may cause problems to your digestive system. I still have a question. Can swallowing gum kill you? Can swallowing gum be a cause for blockage in the digestive system? I learned two vocabulary words. Resin is the part of the gum that cannot be swallowed. Sweeteners is the part of the gum that can be digested. Thank you for this Wonder of the Day. It really made me WONDER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Hi, Team Unger 3! We’re so happy to hear that you WONDERed about gum today! Thanks for leaving this AWESOME comment to let us know all the cool facts you learned! :-)

      We’re not sure if swallowing gum can kill you, but someone might accidentally choke if they tried to chew and/or swallow too many pieces at the same time. That’s really dangerous! We hope all of our Wonder Friends are EXTRA careful when they chew gum!

    • We think YOU are an AWESOME Wonder Friend, Madison! Thanks for letting us know you liked the video for this Wonder…we appreciate hearing from you today! :-)

  27. Dear wonderopolis,
    How do you guys come up with this stuff? They’re great!
    My teacher reads them to us every morning and then we answer your questions. Most of the kids in my class don’t like doing quick writes and most of them don’t even do it, but I do!
    You’re doing great, wonderopolis!

    Your friend, Vienna:)

    • Everyone in Wonderopolis is SUPER proud of you, Vienna! We appreciate that you love to learn and that you like doing quick writes! Keep up the AWESOME job of WONDERing about the world around you, and THANKS for your GREAT comment today! :-)

  28. Hello Wonderopolis!
    I loved this wonder it really caught my eye! I heard a myth you can get worms from swallowing gum. I am glad that is not true. I learned some new facts today at Wonderopolis! I learned that a myth called “Old Wives Tale”. The myth says that swallowed gum will stay in your belly for 7 years! YIKES!! I also learned that gum base can also be called the resin of the gum. The resin is the part of the gum that cannot be digested. I have a question! Why is there a myth about swallowing gum? It seems to be a silly myth to me! Thanks so much for reading my comment! ~BYE*BYE*~

    • It sounds like you really did learn some new facts in Wonderopolis today, Team McNeil 16! Way to go, and THANKS for sharing what you learned with us! We really appreciate all the comments you and your “Team” classmates leave for us…they ROCK! :-)

    • We’re glad you found this Wonder of the Day®, then, Michaela! Thanks for leaving us this AWESOME comment to let us know you stopped by and learned about something you’ve always WONDERed! :-)

    • Hello, Bubble Gum! We really appreciate hearing what our Wonder Friends are WONDERing about! You can tell us your ideas for future Wonders by leaving us a comment or by clicking on the “nominate” button at the top of every page in Wonderopolis. It’s super easy and fun to share your ideas here! :-)

    • That happens a lot when younger kids are first learning how to chew gum, Nicci! Thanks so much for sharing your personal connection to this Wonder of the Day®! We liked hearing your story about gum! :-)

    • Thanks for sharing your personal connection to this Wonder of the Day® about swallowing gum, Squary11! We appreciate you visiting us and leaving us a comment! :-)

  29. I was always told that it adds to the skin around your elbow. So if you straighten out your arm and grab that loose skin you could show others if you swallow a lot of gum. Of course I knew that was always a joke, but one that I have enjoyed sharing with naive children.

    • We’ve never heard that explanation before, Melissa, but we think it’s funny! Thanks for visiting this Wonder of the Day® and leaving us an AWESOME comment! We hope you enjoy the rest of your week! :-)

  30. This video was great! Did you know that if you swallow gum, it stays in your digestive system for seven years.

    • Hi, Julie! We invite you to re-explore this Wonder of the Day® to learn why that old saying isn’t quite true! Lots of people think that, but we WONDERed about it and found out some really interesting facts! :-)

  31. What I really liked about this topic is that I had always wanted to know if it was just a myth how gum stays in your digestive system for seven years but I finally realized that it only stays in your digestive track for two days.

    • Corbin, you are not alone! We have been WONDERing about that gum myth for quite some time– we are so glad to learn the truth with you! We couldn’t be HAPPIER that you enjoyed our gum Wonder– thanks for joining us in the Wonder fun! :)

  32. I have swallowed gum before when I was 3, and now I’m 10, so maybe I will finally digest it! It does stay in your digestive system for 7 years, right? 3+7=10, right? Of course it does.

    • Hello to our Wonder Friend EPES 5th grader! We thought that the 7 year rule was true, but we learned from this Wonder that we were wrong! :)

      “When you swallow gum, your digestive system treats it like any other food. Some of the parts of gum, such as sweeteners, softeners and flavorings, are broken down by the digestive juices in your stomach. Any nutrients your body can use are saved and the rest is pushed on through your digestive system.”

      However, you did a SUPER job of adding 3 and 7… if the 7 year tale was true, you would have finally digested your gum at the age of 10! We all learned something new and interesting today– HOORAY! :)

  33. Hi it’s me Abbey I was wondering if that really is true I heard if it gets stuck in your throat the doctor can’t get it out.

    P.S. I love gum.

    • Hey there Wonder Friend Abbey! We know that gum is best chewed, and although it can be swallowed, it usually doesn’t get stuck in the throat. It’s important to chew gum safely– it’s okay to chew gum while you’re sitting or mostly inactive, but if you’re playing sports or moving around a lot, chewing gum is not a great idea. Doctors and adults are able to help if you are ever in a situation where gum is stuck in your throat, but we sure hope you don’t have to worry about that! We appreciate your comment, Abbey! It’s always great to remind our Wonder Friends to be safe! :)

  34. The video was fun I wish I could be part of the blow off I love bazooka it’s my favorite and if you swallow gum it takes longer than regular food and that all that happens. I wish I could be wonderer like you guys. ;)

    • Hey there Kai.H! We are so excited that our chewy Wonder was right up your alley! We think you’re doing a great job of WONDERing on your own– you’re a SUPER WONDERER! Thanks for sharing your comment and using your awesome imagination! :)

  35. I swallowed my gum almost every day since I was 6 years old. I have NEVER spit a piece out. I am 36 so for 30 years almost everyday I swallowed one or more pieces of gum. No problems, no issues, no nothing.

    So I don’t know what all the fuss is about.

    :-)

    • WOW, we appreciate your story, Shaydie! While we don’t recommend swallowing gum on a regular basis, we’re glad you’re here to report that you’re A-okay! Thanks for sharing this comment with us! :)

    • It sounds like you’d have a stomachache, Evelyn! Even though gum doesn’t take 7 years to digest, we don’t think your stomach would appreciate so much gum! :)

  36. I blew this piece of bubble gum that was in my mouth and I blew and blew and blew until it finally popped and that was certainly the biggest bubble I’ve ever blown!

  37. I always swalllow gum. Well not always and I don’t mean to.
    Ok well got to go and so I will talk to you guys later bye and keep wondering.

    • We hope you keep your tummy happy, Alexis! Try your best to stop swallowing gum… but if it happens once in a while, we think you’ll be just fine! :)

    • We learned that swallowing gum, once in a while, is not terrible for you Cassie. However, you don’t want to make it a daily habit– your stomach might start to complain! :)

    • Contrary to popular belief, those apple seeds won’t grow in your stomach, Cass! But we Wonder what happens if you plant them in your backyard?! :)

    • YUM, thanks for sharing your very own Wonder, Haley and Gabbie! We know you’ve been WONDERing about cheesecake for a while… do you have a favorite recipe to share? :)

  38. Well, we will have to try and find one, but, do you have any articles on cheesecake like who invented it, where did it get its name? Thanks,
    Haley and Gabbie

    • Hey there, Haley and Gabbie! We’re glad you’re WONDERing about cheesecake… it sure is delicious! It takes a while to go from Wonder idea to completed Wonder, but in the meantime we bet you can search through some cookbooks at your house or at the library… and even online! Perhaps you can tell us what you learned about the origin of delicious cheesecake!? :)

  39. YES!!!! Now I can swallow gum because I have been trying not to for a long time!!! Now I will tell my parents that I should be able to swallow gum!! I would rather it digest in 2 hours then never!!! Any other facts I should know about gum please let me know!!!

    • Hey there, Wonder Friend Katelynnking! We’re glad you enjoyed WONDERing about gum with us today– HOORAY! We sure don’t want you to get a stomach ache, so try not to swallow gum often! Although it’s possible to digest in your stomach, it’s not as easy! And don’t forget, there is one part of gum, called resin, that cannot be digested at all. :-)

      We’ve got another gum Wonder that we think you’ll enjoy: Wonder #451– Why Does Gum Lose Its Flavor? http://wonderopolis.org/wonder/why-does-gum-lose-its-flavor/ :)

    • We’re thrilled that you enjoyed our Wonder about gum, Jenn! We hope you had fun while you learned something new today! Have a SUPER day! :)

  40. SO THAT’S WHAT HAPPENS. WOW I WAS THINKING HOW DO I DO THIS????? AND CAN YOU MAKE A WONDER ABOUT THE LEGS AND HOW THEY CAN WORK?

    • Hey there Alyssa, you found another Wonder! We are glad you learned about how the body functions when you swallow gum. It’s cool to learn about how our bodies work! Thanks for sharing a Wonder of your own. :)

  41. Thanks for the wonder I always thought you would have to get surgery or something if you swallowed gum. Thank you for posting that.

    • We’re so happy to hear that you enjoy WONDERing, Lila! Thanks for visiting us today! We Wonder what you learned from our gulp gum Wonder? :)

    • Hey Cindy, we’re so glad you’re WONDERing about chewing gum (a few Wonder Friends are chewing as we type)! :)

      While chewing gum can be swallowed and digested safely, it is not recommended. Check out the excerpt below for more information on why this is true:

      “Although swallowing gum is usually harmless, it’s not a good practice to swallow your gum regularly. Doctors believe that swallowing a large amount of gum at once or swallowing many smaller pieces in a short time span could lead — in rare cases — to problems in the digestive system.

      So enjoy your chewing gum, but spit it out in the trash when you’re finished with it. Doctors also recommend you stick to sugar-free gums, so that you won’t put your teeth in jeopardy of developing cavities.” :)

    • Hey there, Wonder Friend Emma! Many of us at Wonderopolis have accidentally swallowed our gum when we were younger. We are happy to hear that it’s not that big of a deal when it happens, but we don’t want to make a habit of it! We’re so glad you learned something new with us! HOORAY for WONDERing! :)

    • We sure are glad you’re okay, Wonder Friend Romi! While swallowing gum by accident won’t hurt you, we’re glad you don’t do it often– we bet your stomach wouldn’t feel too great! Thanks for sharing your comment with us today! :)

    • Hey there, Tobuscus! Thanks for telling us all about your connection to this gum-chewing Wonder! :)

    • How neat, Kate! What a WONDERful coincidence! :)

      Thanks for visiting us today – we hope to Wonder with you again soon! :)

  42. So that was really weird what if that was real? Every time I chew gum I almost swallow it but not all the time.

    • We’re glad you’re not swallowing gum often, Vaniyah! We wouldn’t want you to have a stomach ache! Thanks for WONDERing with us today and sharing your terrific comment! We hope to see you soon! :)

  43. Great question, Rachel! We bet a doctor would have a great answer for you, but none of us here at Wonderopolis are doctors (at least, not yet)! Your stomach can get upset if you are constantly swallowing gum because of the ingredients that aren’t easily digested. Happy tummy = spitting out your gum when you’re finished. :)

    • Hey Mrs. Pepe’a Awesome 5th Grade! What a FUN thing to WONDER about! We bet that if your stomach’s digestive juices can handle bubble gum, it would digest a plant (like vegetables!) as well. If you think about herbs and vegetables, we eat plants all the time! Do you ever WONDER about what plants eat? http://wonderopolis.org/wonder/plant-hunters/ Thanks for the comment! :)

    • Hi Kendall, great question! Gum actually keeps your teeth clean because it moves the saliva around in your mouth! It’s better to chew sugar-free bubble gum than gum filled with sugar, but we hope you’ll continue to Wonder all about gum! :)

  44. Hi Wonderopolis. I’m Kaitlyn and I learned that if you swallow gum it could cause bad cavities, and that it grows until seven years it is done growing. I have been wondering why gum is so healthy, but it mess’s with your body if you swallow it. Bye

    • No worries, Kaitlyn! It is an old wives’s tale that gum stays in your stomach for seven years. That means it is just a story. It is not true. In fact, according to this Wonder, “swallowing gum is usually harmless”. However, “Doctors point out that swallowing a large amount of gum at once or swallowing many smaller pieces in a short time span could lead — in rare cases — to problems in the digestive system.” Thanks for WONDERing with us today, Wonder Friend! :-)

  45. I never knew that we shouldn’t swallow gum, but that made me want to stop swallowing gum. I love gum, but I don’t want a tree to grow in my tummy. I should have known that before because I swallow gum all the time and I felt bad about it.

    • Thank you for sharing your thoughts about our gum Wonder, ptownboy! Luckily if you swallow gum a tree will not grow in your tummy. We hope you WONDER with us again soon! :)

    • We’re not sure why this myth continues, Person 321! Perhaps it’s a way to keep kids from accidentally choking on gum! Thanks for dropping by Wonderopolis today! :)

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Have you ever wondered…

  • What happens if you swallow gum?
  • Does gum stay in your digestive system for seven years?
  • Can your digestive system digest all the parts of gum?

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Try It Out

Ready to learn more about chewing gum and the digestive system? Here are a few fun activities you can chew on with some friends or family members:

  • Do you have a favorite type of gum? Which flavors do you prefer? Ask an adult to take you on a field trip to a local store to check out the variety of chewing gum they have for sale. If you have some extra money, buy a couple of different types of sugar-free gum that you’ve never tried before. Take them home and try a blind taste test. Take one stick of each type of gum and unwrap them. Put them in a bowl and mix them up. Now try each one individually. Which one do you prefer? What flavor is it? Maybe you’ll find a new favorite. Whatever you do, though, don’t swallow your gum!
  • Do you know what happens to the food you eat? Jump online and check out this cool Digestive System video to learn more about the trip your food takes through your body. Wouldn’t it be cool if your body was transparent and you could see the food travel through the digestive system? If you’re up for a challenge, try creating a drawing that shows the path of food through the body!
  • You now know that swallowed gum doesn’t sit in your stomach for seven years. Whew! What a relief that must be. But what if it did? Or what if you swallowed a watermelon seed by accident? Would a watermelon start to grow in your tummy? Think about some things that you might accidentally swallow and then make up a funny story about what might happen afterward. You can tell your story to friends or family members, or you can write it down. If you write out your story, be sure to post it on Facebook, because we’d love to read it. Let your imagination run wild. Your story can be as crazy and silly as you want it to be. You never know, you might start a myth of your own!

 

Still Wondering

Explore Science NetLinks’ Nutrition 3: Got Broccoli? lesson to learn about why the body needs food and how it takes necessary nutrients as food passes through the digestive system.

 

Test Your Knowledge

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