Where does it come from?
The first gums were made of stretchy and sticky natural tars. Then we moved on to tree sap, like that of the rubber tree, and today most gums are made with synthetic rubber.
But all these ingredients, natural and synthetic, have something in common: we can’t digest them. Our bodies do not make any chemicals that can break down the polymers that make gum what it is.
What is a bubble gum?
Gum is a funny thing. We chew it like food, and with added sugars and flavouring it tastes like food. But it isn’t food, and it never has been. It’s not even candy, since candy gets swallowed. It’s just gum.
But do gums stay in our bodies?
As lumps of mashed-up food are pushed through your digestive tract, your body breaks much of it down and takes out the nutrients it needs. The stuff that’s left over, including gum, is excreted normally.
Is gum safe to swallow?
Yes and no. Accidentally gulping down a single piece shouldn’t do any harm to an adult’s body. But swallowing lots of gum can cause blockages in the digestive tract, especially in children, who are both smaller and way more likely to swallow their gum. This can lead to serious, painful constipation, sometimes requiring a doctor’s help.
Published in Dawn, Young World, September 8th, 2018