An expert has debunked 'old wives' tale' about what happens when you swallow gum

An expert has debunked 'old wives' tale' about what happens when you swallow gum
What If You Always Swallow Your Chewing Gum?
Backyard Media - INSH / VideoElephant

Myths we are told as children often go unchallenged and disguised as facts later in life, from bread crust making your hair curly to catching a cold if you go outside with wet hair – and chewing gum sitting in the stomach for seven years if swallowed.

Sorry to break it to you, but they're all myths.

Now, one professor of clinical gastroenterology from the University of Oxford set the record straight, calling the chewing gum claim nothing but an "old wives' tale".

"I’ve no idea where the myth came from," Simon Travis told CNN. "I can only imagine that it was suggested because someone wanted to stop their children from chewing gum."

The only inkling of truth is that chewing gum is not digestible, as Travis explains: "If you swallow chewing gum, it’ll go through the stomach, and go through into the intestine, and pass out unchanged at the other end."

Swallowing three or more pieces a day is understandably considered excessive, however.

"There are cases of chewing gum lodging in the intestines of infants and even children if they’ve swallowed a lot, and then it causes an obstruction," Travis continues. "But in over 30 years of specialist gastro practice, I’ve never seen a case."


Among other medical myths that simply won't disappear is the idea that you have to wait an hour after eating before swimming, to avoid cramps.

The myth is said to date back to around 1908 when it was featured in a a Boy Scout handbook.

However, there is no reason to not swim after eating. While exercise after a feast can feel slightly uncomfortable, it is by no means dangerous.

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