Since Walter Diemer invented the chewy goodness that is the humble bubble gum back in 1928, people have been chewing and spitting it out, with occasional choking incidents. While this funny rubber candy made out of stretchy and sticky natural tars is not food, it certainly tastes like it thanks to added sugars and flavorings.
From tar, the companies moved on to tree sap, like the rubber tree, and today’s bubble gums are manufactured out of synthetic rubber. But each one of them has one thing in common; the resistance towards being digested by the chemicals inside our stomach. This begs the question, what would happen if we would accidently or intentionally swallow the gum?
As explained in the video above by the American Chemical Society, the answer is a bit complicated. One thing is for sure that our body can’t digest the gum, but that doesn’t mean it stays inside our body forever, unlike the common rumor.
So just like with every other unneeded lump of food inside your body, the gum would also be pushed out of the digestive track and eventually pooped out.
But that doesn’t mean you start swallowing the thing from now on! Gum in large quantities can cause blockages in the digestive tract. This is more applicable to children, who have smaller tracks and are more likely to swallow their gum. The blockages can cause painful constipation, so much so as to requiring a doctor’s help, as demonstrated by this “taffy-pulling” incident.