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Myth Buster: Swallowed Gum Gets Stuck

Myth: If you swallow gum, it stays with you for seven years.

Facts: There’s no way that a piece of gum you swallowed during the first Bush administration is still in your stomach. “I can tell you for a fact, gum travels straight through,” says Patricia Raymond, associate professor of clinical internal medicine at Eastern Virginia Medical School in Norfolk. “It doesn’t get stuck anywhere. It just travels downstream,” passing through the digestive system in 24 hours.

Unlike food, gum isn’t broken down by gastric acid or digestive enzymes. “It doesn’t get changed that much,” Raymond says. “It’s inert, but it’s not dangerous.”

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