Dr. Jennifer Vitarelli

What Happens if You Swallow Gum? Expert Dental Advice

You’ve probably done it at least once out of curiosity – almost everyone has swallowed a piece of gum in their life and have never really needed a doctor. And then there are a lot of myths too, one particularly popular says that gum can stay in your stomach for several years. 

Although your stomach is unable to break gum in the same way it dissolves food, your digestive system is perfectly capable of moving the gum to normal intestinal activity. In simple words, it will come out the other end. 

When Should You Call a Doctor

  • Swallowing a piece of gum is not really a big problem, but if you or a young one has a habit of swallowing gum regularly, then it may become a big problem since it can block your digestive tract. Blockages typically happen when the gum is swallowed with a foreign object just as a coin or some dry food like sunflower seeds. 

Young kids are more likely to be affected by this because they may not understand the risks of swallowing gum. But apart from that, chewing gum and swallowing it by accident does not pose any major threat.

Should You Allow Your Children to Chew Gum?

  • Chewing gum is an excellent way to maintain healthy teeth since it helps remove bacteria and food debris from the teeth. Some children may have a problem adapting to the daily habits of brushing their teeth. 

For children who have problems with brushing teeth, the gum is a very good alternative to help them keep their teeth clean while they learn to brush their teeth on a daily basis. But just like any other thing, too much of it can be harmful.

Too Much Gum is Bad for Your Jaws

  • Chewing gum requires your jaw to work hard and it can easily cause jaw pain if you eat too much gum. The pain and this condition can worsen and may only be fixed by a dentist after you have gone under a periodontal therapy

Although chewing gum prevents cavities, it has to be sugarless otherwise it can promote tooth decay if consumed too much. Another problem with gum is that many of its flavors are made with chemicals that are not good for your health. For example, the cinnamon-flavored gums are made with ingredients that may irritate the mouth lining. 

A good rule is to stick with sugarless gum. Talk to your dentist today and find out how you can continue eating gum without its side effects. 

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