Oh no! You’ve swallowed your gum! A gasp, a laugh, or just falling asleep caused you to swallow your gum accidentally. Then, you remember the stories about gum staying in your system for years. Is it true? Will you get sick from gum causing your intestines to stick together? Will it build up in your stomach? We’ve heard all the myths about swallowing gum, and here’s what we have to say: Relax! Swallowing gum won’t kill you, but it’s best to keep it from happening if you can.
Many of our dental patients at Beavers & Broomfield Family Dentistry chew gum, and a few have called in a panic after swallowing gum. They also have other questions about gum. Does it cause tooth decay? Can you chew gum with braces? Which type of gum is best?
Let’s clear up a few myths about gum and gum chewing.
What Happens After Swallowing Chewing Gum?
Swallowing gum usually happens by accident (unless you get caught by your teacher chewing gum in class, right?). It’s not unusual, but it’s also not damaging, despite the rumors you may have heard.
Is it harmful to swallow gum? No, it isn’t. Your stomach doesn’t digest gum, but the gum also won’t sit in your stomach for 7 years, as the old wives tale states. Instead, it will pass through your system like any other food. It’s usually gone within 24 hours, so rest assured. You’re safe, even after swallowing your gum. Just don’t do it every time. Swallowing gum regularly could cause it to build up in your system, leading to intestinal blockage. But one accidental swallowing shouldn’t hurt you.
Is Gum Chewing Good for You or Bad for You?
Lots of people chew gum. LOTS of people. In fact, the marketing website, Statista, says the global gum-chewing market will hit about $40 billion this year. That’s a lot of gum! With so many people chewing gum, it can’t be all bad, right? Well, good news — it isn’t, depending on the gum you chew and whether you brush your teeth afterward.
Sugared gum can deposit those sugars on your teeth, which will develop into plaque. That plaque can cause tooth decay. If you chew sugared gum, be sure you brush your teeth thoroughly afterward. Don’t forget to floss before you brush! That way, you brush everything away all at once!
As dentists, we recommend you stick to sugarless gum. It doesn’t have the sugars that cause tooth decay. In fact, most sugarless gums have an ingredient called xylitol that helps keep plaque-making bacteria from forming. Chewing gum also keeps your saliva flowing, which helps wash away bacteria from your teeth. Plus, mint gum makes your breath fresher. Chewing gum can also stave off your desire to snack.
There are definite benefits to chewing gum. Just stick with sugarless gum if you can.
Cleaning Teeth at Dentist Fayetteville Arkansas
Whether you chew sugared gum, sugarless gum, or no gum at all, you still must keep your teeth clean and free of plaque. You must floss at least once a day and brush twice daily for two minutes each time. Ideally, you want to brush your teeth after every meal.
There is another important step to keeping your teeth healthy — semi-annual cleanings! You need to visit the dentist twice a year for an examination and thorough, professional cleaning. Beavers & Broomfield Family Dentistry in Fayetteville, AR, use top x-ray technology to get a close look at your teeth and their development. If you have tooth decay from sugary gum or anything else, we can spot it and treat it before it gets out of control. Schedule an appointment with us, and be careful with your gum!