Whether you chew gum or not, you will come into contact with hundreds of dispensed sticks of the stuff on a daily basis. How is that possible? Well, just look down, the sidewalks are littered with specks of solidified gum and the underside of practically any public table that you sit at is also an infested area.
With 347 trillion sticks of gum produced every year, it's safe to say that chewing gum is quickly taking over the planet – quite literally considering that more than 100,000 tons of chewing gum is consumed each year.
With that in mind, it's surprising that we don't hear more about the effects chewing gum has on the environment and our health.
Once discarded, our chewing gum becomes truly forgotten. We rarely, if ever, give a second thought to the damage we could be causing to our bodies and the nature that surrounds us by nonchalantly masticating on a pack of peppermint gum.
But, in this modern world of conscious living, isn't it time that we began to consider the after effects of our chewing habits? Should we not be more aware of the impacts?
For example, if the oldest piece of gum ever to be found is 9,000-years-old, then what will become of the trillions of sticks that we chew each year in modern times?
If you listen to the rumors and old wive's tales, then you probably think that your chewing gum will live inside of your body for seven years if you happen to swallow it, either accidentally or intentionally.
However, that isn't quite true. Whilst some gum can withstand digestion, there is no rule which states that it will then habituate your body for nearly a decade.
Gum isn't designed to be smoothly digested by the body and thus, it is not recommended that you swallow the stuff. Gum's synthetic or natural rubber base is the issue when it comes to digestion, for the body cannot perform the necessary actions with it.
Still not sure what I am talking about? Well, synthetic gums contain Butyl rubber, a substance also present in car tires and basketballs. Can you imagine your body digesting either of those two things? No.
It's this rubber base that remains, for the body is able to digest the other elements, such as the carbohydrates, oils, and alcohols. Not even the harsh acid in your stomach can impact it.
Eventually, your stomach muscles will reject this rubber and remove it from your body – although, it's a process that usually takes days rather than weeks or years.
Meanwhile, the gum that you chew and throw to the kerb will likely live forever. Just think, a little bit of you is currently living on hundreds, if not thousands, of sidewalks, on the underside of your old school desk, on the bottom of the backseat of the bus.
If that idea scares you then now should probably be the time that you quit chewing. Why not take up soft mints instead and do your bit for your body and your planet!