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Sunday, October 24, 2021

Fact or Myth: What Really Happens If You Swallow Chewing Gum Accidentally? Will You Die?

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How many of us still remember the childhood myth that if you swallow chewing gum, you will die? If you don’t, you were probably born in the internet age where such ‘scary’ tales are non-existent. What about the myth that says if you drink garri and take mango almost immediately with it, you will die? You remember? Or am I imagining things that are unreal?

Well, this is to remind us of those days of innocence when children will believe almost anything but now? If it’s not on the internet, it is probably not true. But what does really happen if you should accidentally eat a stick of gum?

Chewing gum is made out of gum base, sweeteners, colouring and flavouring. The gum base is pretty indigestible – it is a mixture of elastomers, resins, fats, emulsifiers and waxes. Most of the time, your stomach really cannot break down the gum the way it would other foods.

However, your digestive system has another way to deal with things you swallow. After all, we eat lots of things that we are unable to fully digest. The gut just keeps moving them along until they make it all the way through the intestines and come out the other end.So gum usually ends up in your lavatory one to two days later. Even though gum is sticky, it is usually no match for the power of your gut.The system can still get gummed up though. Swallowing a huge wad of gum or swallowing many small pieces of gum in a short time can cause a blockage within the digestive system – most often in children, who have a smaller-diameter digestive tract than adults – but this is extremely rare.

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