Two days ago, Alycia did something really silly — she tried to drink water when she was chewing on a piece of chewing gum and swallowed the gum together with the water! This girl of mine is not new to chewing on gums. But it is the first time that she has swallowed the chewing gum. This Miss Cool As Cucumber nonchalantly told me that she had swallowed the chewing gum and asked me what would happen to her. I scared her by concocting an exaggerated answer so that she would not repeat the same silly mistake — by telling her that if the gum did not come out together with her poop the next day, she may end up like her baby sister. When Cass was 13 months old, she had an obstruction of the guts, resulting from the first surgery. Her stomach balloned up and she threw up non-stop for a week and finally underwent another surgery to fix the guts. I told Alycia that if she could not let out wind or do her poopie business, she is in for trouble *evil mum, MUAHAHAHAHA!* Anyway, Alycia was so relieved when she pooped today and did not throw up after her meals LOL!
WHAT HAPPENS IF YOU SWALLOW CHEWING GUM:
Almost everyone has swallowed a piece of gum, but few kids have ever needed a doctor because of it. You might have heard that swallowed gum stays in your stomach for 7 years. That’s not true.
Though your stomach can’t break down a piece of gum the same way it breaks down other food, your digestive system can move it along through normal intestinal activity. In other words, it comes out the other end when you have a bowel movement (poop).
When Is Swallowed Gum a Problem?
Swallowing a large mass of gum, or many small pieces of gum over a short period of time, can block the digestive tract in rare cases. Blockage is most likely when gum is swallowed along with foreign objects, like coins, or when swallowed with nondigestible materials like sunflower seeds.
Little kids are most likely to be affected because they might not understand that gum is chewed, not swallowed.
But apart from these strange scenarios, swallowing an occasional piece of gum is harmless.
What Exactly Happens to the Gum?
Chewing gum is made of either natural or synthetic materials (gum resin), preservatives, flavorings, and sweeteners. The body can absorb sweeteners, such as sugar, and they can add up to a lot of calories if you chew a lot of sugary gum.
But the human digestive tract can’t digest the gum resin. It’s moved through the digestive tract by the normal pushing (peristaltic) actions of the gut. The gum’s journey ends during a trip to the bathroom.
Are Some Kids Too Young for Gum?
Kids shouldn’t chew gum until they fully understand the importance of not swallowing it. By age 5, most children will understand that gum is different than candy and is not to be swallowed.
So if you have younger brothers or sisters, don’t offer them gum until they’re older and your mom or dad says it’s OK.
Should Any Kids Chew Gum?
Too much of anything can be a problem. Chewing gum is hard on dental work and most gums that are not sugar free can cause cavities. Sugar-free gum sweetened with sorbitol also can be a problem because it can cause diarrhea. Cinnamon-flavored gums of any kind may irritate the mouth lining. They can be hot and spicy in your mouth, as you probably know.
A good rule would be to stick with sugar-free gum and don’t have more than one or two pieces a day. And when you’re done with it, don’t swallow it. Spit it out instead!