As I was watching a movie this weekend (no, it wasn’t Sponge Bob), one of the characters accidentally swallowed his gum. He then said that the gum was going to stay in his digestive system for 7 years. This of course made me wonder if gum can stay in your system for that long.
The answer is no! It is a popular misconception that gum can stay in your stomach for 7 years before it is digested.
As it turns out, gum passes through the digestive system relatively intact (simple explanation). This means it is not being digested because our bodies cannot do so; it just passes from one end to the other.
Reason for this is because of the things that gum is made of, gum resin (whether natural or synthetic materials, preservatives, etc) our bodies just cannot digest it, it cannot break it down. Therefore our bodies just move gum along the digestive system until it comes out in a trip to the bathroom (simple, detailed explanation).
It is dangerous, however, when large amounts of gum are swallowed (or are being swallowed constantly) because they can get stuck in the small intestine, especially causing problems in kids or if the person suffers from constipation. If you swallowed a piece of gum in a rare, accidental occasion, you shouldn’t have major problems, it will come out. Just, don’t make it a habit of swallowing gum!