Let’s get to the bottom of this, once and for all.
Gum is meant to be chewed — but sometimes accidents happen.
Maybe it went down with a gulp of water…or maybe there just wasn't anywhere to spit it out.
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And you’ve probably heard that swallowed gum stays in your stomach for 7 months or 7 years or some other absurdly long time.
Gum-swallowing myths were super popular when you were a kid. And chances are you still kinda believe whichever one sounded most plausible back then.
So what actually happens when you swallow gum?
BuzzFeed Health reached out to gastroenterologist Dr. Lisa Ganjhu, D.O., associate professor of medicine at NYU Langone Medical Center in New York City, to find out what exactly goes down in your digestive system when you swallow your gum (and if it's actually bad for you).
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Basically, gum passes through your body just like any food — but it doesn’t get completely digested.
“Your GI tract is very strong — if it can digest a tough steak, it can digest gum,” says Ganjhu. So you have the strong gastric movements and the acids and enzymes to break the gum down. The only difference is that the base of gum doesn't get dissolved completely because of its chemical properties, and also the contents don't get absorbed into the small intestine like most foods, says Ganju.
“Once it's in, it'll go out like everything else. There is no specific time frame because everyone's digestive system motility is different,” says Ganjhu.
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