Will swallowed gum stay in your stomach?

January 26th, 2012 - 1:19 am ICT by Aishwarya Bhatt  

Washington, Jan 25 (THAINDIAN NEWS) Scientists have debunked the long-held believe that swallowed gum stays in the stomach for seven years. This has been a common warning that parents give their children but a report by Scientific America debunks that.

According to the report, gum has four main parts, the gum base, the softener, the sweetener and the flavor. The three last parts – flavor, sweetener and softener – can be digested easily by the digestive system. However, the gum base presents the biggest challenge to the digestive system.

It is often made with chemicals that prevent the gum from being dissolved by the enzymes in the saliva. When the gum base finally enters the stomach, it will be excreted with all the other undigested food and it will come out as feces.

There have been cases where swallowed gum have stayed in the stomach for years. In a report published in the journal Pediatrics, David Milov and his colleagues reported a case in which a boy swallowed several gums into his stomach. The material piled up and was present in the stomach after two years. The boy developed severe constipation and doctors had to intervene to remove the residue from the stomach.

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