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You Asked: How Long Does it Take to Digest Chewing Gum?

My mom told me, and I bet yours did too, that it takes SEVEN years to digest gum. As a parent, I see the need to occasionally make up fantastical facts, especially if they involve making choking hazards appear less attractive. But there is absolutely no truth to this old wives tale. Sorry, mom, but I caught you in a lie (and only days before Mother's Day).

Although gum is indigestible (which is probably the origin of the 7 year myth), it passes through the human body and is eliminated in the same manner as any other swallowed substance. The sugars in the gum are absorbed by the body in 1 to 2 hours, and the wad of gum leaves the body fairly unchanged, but on a normal schedule.

Interesting factoids: Chewing the resin of trees is an ancient human habit, and the first commercially produced gum, here in the US, was made from spruce resin in 1846, in the fair state of Maine.

Join The Conversation
pinupsweetheart pinupsweetheart 10 years
I love how they used to tell us things when we were little. I think I swallowed a dime once to see what happened.
SU3 SU3 10 years
I remember that! :ROTFL:
wackdoodle wackdoodle 10 years
I always thought people who believed this myth also believed that if if swallowed an orange seed or watermelon pit a plant would grow in your stomach. All stuff that goes in and comes out in a timely manner.
RebeccaAdele RebeccaAdele 10 years
That myth always made me laugh. I was actually chewing gum for the first time in about 6 months while reading this. Weird!
grl-in-the-world grl-in-the-world 10 years
LOL!!! My mom used to tell me it took 7 years! I think I even told that to some kid I used to babysit who was a frequent gum swallower!
krisua krisua 10 years
:ROTFL: I have never heard about this myth! But it's very funny, though.
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