Dr. Garcia and his team at Garcia Orthodontics want to dispel an urban legend about chewing gum: if you swallow a wad of gum, it does not sit in your stomach for seven years. In most cases, actually, not even seven days. Chewing gum, although not meant to be swallowed, passes harmlessly through the digestive system and is excreted in the same manner as everything else we eat.
There is some truth to the myth, however: chewing gum is not digested. It contains resins, sometimes natural and sometimes synthetic, which our bodies cannot break down. Gum is simply passed along our digestive tract.
In rare cases, excessive amounts of swallowed gum can lead to constipation and intestinal blockage in young children. But parents need not be alarmed. Young children are not more susceptible to complications involving swallowed gum; young children are simply the only people who might swallow enough gum to cause digestive problems. Kids often forget or may not understand that gum is for chewing and not swallowing.