What is in chewing gum?

to chew bubble gum

Chewing gum chewing is popular: According to estimates, every German chews 100 chewing gum a year. Even children are often enthusiastic about chewing gum bubbles and the colorful balls of the gumball machine, but adults also like chewing gum. The many different varieties are chewed for a variety of reasons: some use chewing gum for dental care, others chew nicotine gum when it comes to the craving for a cigarette.

What is chewing gum anyway?

Chewing gum is a mass that is flexible and easily deformable, tastes sweet or sour, and can be chewed for up to several hours without this mass dissolving.

Chewing gums can consist of three different basic substances:

  1. One of them is mastic, a mastic-pistachio soft resin. These chewing gums are preferably chewed in the Arab world.
  2. The chewing gum mass Chicle comes from the white milk juice of the fruits of the tree.
  3. However, most chewing gum is manufactured synthetically . The raw materials for this are plastics from petroleum, sugar, fillers and flavors.

Varieties and applications

For a long time chewing gum has not only been chewed for pastime, but used for various purposes. As a result, a large market with different products has developed, so that there are now many types of chewing gum, each promising different effects:

  • Nicotine gums make it easier for smokers to quit addiction. It is advisable to chew a nicotine gum with every craving for cigarettes, whereby you should not exceed a certain number of chewing gum per day. By chewing the nicotine is dissolved in a nicotine chewing gum, which enters the blood via the mucous membranes in the mouth. A nicotine chewing gum is non-addictive, but it can cause some side effects such as dizziness, nausea, indigestion, and throat irritation.
  • Caffeine chewing gum is said to replace coffee or tea. By chewing, the caffeine dissolves, is absorbed by the mucous membranes immediately and should help to stay awake. There are different varieties that are mixed with different amounts of caffeine.
  • Those who suffer from traveling sickness when traveling have the option of taking a chewing gum for travel sickness . The active substance dimenhydrinate is released. Dimenhydrinate inhibits the center of nausea in the brain.
  • Dental care gums are used to clean teeth and provide minerals. They are especially popular after meals when there is no possibility to brush their teeth. One particular type of dental care gum is sodium carbonate chewing gum, which is intended to prevent tooth discoloration. This allows it to be used to aid professional teeth whitening to counteract new discolorations.

Consequence of chewing gum consumption

The chewing dissolves the ingredients in the chewing gum. These mix with the saliva, are swallowed, enter the digestive tract and are taken up via mucous membranes into the bloodstream. Even the oral mucosa absorbs the dissolved substances in the blood system.

As a result, controversial ingredients such as the sweetener aspartame in the bloodstream. Although aspartame should be harmless in small quantities. The sweetener should be consumed wisely. Especially for people with the metabolic disorder phenylketonuria aspartame is toxic. Since the sweetener is a chemical product, healthy people should consume aspartame only in moderation. If you want to be on the safe side, you should therefore buy chewing gum without harmful sweeteners.

Anyone who chews chewing gum often runs the risk of overstraining the muscles in the jaw and the temporomandibular joints. This manifests itself as cracking in the jaw during the chewing motion. Excessive chewing can thus lead to a malfunction of the temporomandibular joint.

Positive effect of chewing gum chewing

Chewing gum stimulates certain areas of the brain that have a beneficial effect on reducing stress . In addition, chewing gum increases blood circulation in the brain. As a result, about a quarter more oxygen gets into the brain, which significantly increases concentration and performance.

Many people like to use chewing gum when taking off and landing in airplanes. Chewing helps to balance the pressure of flying in the ears and to prevent earache.

US researchers have also found that chewing gum chaff stimulates the metabolism. Our body consumes about 11 calories in one hour of chewing.

Chewing gum chewing against tooth decay?

Chewing gum chewing leads to increased saliva production. This rinses away food particles and acids that are harmful to the teeth. As a result, the pH in the mouth increases again and makes it difficult for bacteria to multiply. Sugarless chewing gum is better because it does not provide nutrients to bacteria. The proliferation of bacteria is thus kept lower. Thus, sugar-free chewing gum can help to protect the teeth from caries.

Especially the naturally occurring sugar substitute xylitol has a positive effect on the oral hygiene. However, you should make sure that chewing gum chewing can not replace daily brushing.

When are chewing gums indigestible?

The body can not digest or break down chewing gum. So if you swallow a gum, it excretes undigested again.

Often chewing gums contain various additives to produce a pleasant taste. But not all additives are digestible in high doses for everyone. The possible consequences are abdominal pain and the emergence of intolerances. The latter is especially the case when the sugar substitute sorbitol is contained in chewing gum. If such chewing gums are excessively chewed, a fructose intolerance may result. In addition, excessive chewing gum can cause bloating and diarrhea.

5 facts about chewing gum (infographic)

5 facts about gum - © istockphoto, toddtaulman

Remove gum from hair and clothing

If chewing gum has settled in jeans, hair or textiles, it is not easy to remove. Here are some household tips:

  1. Place the clothes or textiles with a chewing gum stain in a plastic bag in the freezer for a few hours. Then you can scrape off the chewing gum. Remains are left over, you can treat them with spirit or gasoline. For this, you should first apply the substances to a cloth and rub away the chewing gum residues.
  2. If chewing gum sticks in your hair, you should generously rub the affected area with oil, cream or butter and then carefully pull out the chewing gum bit by bit.
  3. When chewing gum sticks to carpet and upholstered furniture, it's important to let it harden. Cooling batteries or cooling sports spray can help. Then you can scrape off the chewing gum and possibly treat leftovers with gasoline or spirit.

Make bubble gum yourself

You can also make chewing gums yourself. In contrast to many purchased chewing gum, the homemade chewing gum mass does not contain any artificial flavor enhancers, petroleum oils or other masked ingredients. This allows you to chew on the crowd with a clear conscience.

For the most common recipe you need:

  • 1 part chicle (available at the pharmacy)
  • 2 to 3 parts sugar or the healthier variant xylitol (natural sweetener)
  • Essential Oils (about 1.5 to 3.5 grams at 400 grams of chicle)
  • optionally glycerin (up to 8 grams)

Heat the chicle to 60 degrees Celsius and add sugar or xylitol. Glycerin makes the mass softer and smoother, add something to it at will. When the mass has cooled to 30 degrees Celsius, enrich it with essential oils and herbs according to taste. Then sprinkle a tray with sugar or xylitol, roll out the mass and cut into chewing gum-sized strips.

The history of chewing gum

The oldest chewing gum is said to be over 9, 000 years old and made of birch pitch. Other archaeological findings show that Stone Age people have already chewed on birch resin. For the first time, chewing gum was produced as a mass product of spruce resin in America in 1848. Only in 1982 was an elastic chewing gum mass invented, which also made bubble gum possible, just as we know chewing gum today.

Today, conventional chewing gum is mixed with artificial raw materials and thus not biodegradable. Therefore, it takes years for chewing gum to decompose or disintegrate.

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