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Is It Dangerous to Swallow Gum?

It might be tempting to swallow chewing gum if there’s no trash can nearby, but is it dangerous to do so?

While not necessarily a health hazard, swallowing gum isn’t a good habit, according to Dr. Ari Lamet, a gastroenterologist in Hollywood, Florida.

“Swallowing a piece of gum occasionally shouldn’t be an issue if you have a normal GI tract and haven’t experienced an intestinal blockage,” Lamet told Fox News Digital.

What about those age-old warnings that gum takes seven years to digest? The truth is, it doesn’t digest at all.

“Gum is non-digestible and has no nutritional value, so it will eventually pass through your bowel movements,” Lamet explained.

Dr. Kerry Frommer Firestein, a pediatrician and CEO of Allied Physicians Group in New York, agreed that swallowing gum will likely have minimal to no impact on your health.

“The chewy part of the gum cannot be digested,” she told Fox News Digital. “It will pass through your intestines and come out in a bowel movement within a day or so.”

However, the doctors warned that swallowing gum can be more dangerous for some people.

“If you have had GI surgery or experienced previous blockages, it is best to avoid swallowing gum,” Lamet advised.

Swallowing gum can be more dangerous if done regularly or in large quantities, Firestein noted. It can also pose a risk if swallowed with other non-food items, potentially creating a blockage in the intestinal tract.

Chewing gum can also cause you to swallow more air than usual, leading to gas and bloating, she added. “It can also cause jaw problems, leading to jaw pain, headaches, and earaches.”

Even if you don’t fall into a higher-risk category, it’s best not to make swallowing gum a habit, according to Lamet.

“The best way to avoid an intestinal blockage is not to swallow it at all,” he said.

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