Can Gum Go Bad?

This brief article answers the question, “Can Gum Go Bad?” with an in-depth analysis of chewing gum, factors affecting the shelf life, ingredients used to make chewing gum, and risk factors if you swallow it. 

Can Gum Go Bad?

No gum does not go bad and it does not expire. As far as gum goes it has nothing that can perish. It is usually made from synthetic materials instead of natural ones. Because it is not meant to be digested or dissolved in your mouth

The Expiry Date of Gum

Also to get the richer flavor the flavorings used are mostly unnatural. Sometimes some specific gums use natural flavorings but they specifically mention it according to the International Chewing Gum Association (ICGA).

Gum does have some moisture that dries out over time. In general, the gum is very stable and none of the ingredients react vigorously with other substances. Also overall it is a safe item to eat according to the ICGA.

Most governments allow companies to produce gum without the expiration dates printed on the packet.

Is There Any Reason For Gum To Go Bad?

Well yes, gum can go bad due to exposure to moisture through air or direct contact. But other than that gum is invincible. Also after the years the texture can change and the flavor may be lost but it’s still edible.

So the next time you chew a piece of gum just think this bubble-making goodness could theoretically live longer than you. The next time you find a piece of gum you theoretically can eat it. Just make sure it smells and tastes fine.

What Is Chewing Gum Made Of?

Have you ever thought about what’s inside of chewing gum that makes it so chewable? Well, before World War II, chewing gum was made of something called “chicle”. Which came from trees which are native to Central America.

And essentially, chicle is a latex sap, But you can’t get a lot of chicle from those trees. If you tap a chicle tree for 24 hours, it only yields about two and a half pounds of chicle. Which would get you only a few hundred sticks of chewing gum. So not the best kind of ingredient to use for the long haul.

History of gum

By World War II, Americans were chewing gum like crazy, all over the place. But then after the war, these chemists got together and thought of a chicle substitute. And so they came up with another kind of synthetic rubber analogous to chicle.

And so today chewing gum is made from these synthetic rubber compounds combined with things like sugar and natural and artificial flavorings. So to answer the question of what makes chewing gum so chewable, it’s rubber.

We’re just chewing on rubber, flavored like watermelons, or grapes, or candied apples. As time progressed so was the fascination for gums. And many other cultures made gum-like substances obtained from plants, grasses and resins.

But it was not until the 1860s when the first flavored chewing gum was finally invented using synthetic rubber. Apart from gum base, these modern-day gums contain the following ingredients:


Ingredients such as sweeteners, softeners, and flavoring are what we enjoy until the taste is gone and we spit it out. But the critical question is what if you swallow it by mistake.

Well first here is something you need to understand about your digestion process.

Digestion of Non-Dissolvable Substances

When you eat something it goes through a systematic process. Starting from chewing it, where the food mixes with the saliva. And once you swallow this mixture your body breaks it down further.

Extract all the nutrients on the way before it lands inside your stomach. Where a powerful stomach acid transforms it into a mush that allows the food to pass through the rest of the digestive tract smoothly.

What Happens When You Swallow Gum?

But when it comes to gums it’s a whole different bubble game. Because no matter how super powerful your stomach acid is, it is no match to the strength the synthetic rubber possesses.

Despite the best efforts from your saliva, enzymes, and stomach acid to digest the gum, they won’t be able to break it apart and dissolve it. But don’t worry it won’t stick to the side of your intestine and stay there.

Your body will treat it like any other local food it can’t fully digest. So within the next three days or so your digestive tract will push it through your system and will throw it out along with feces.  

Although swallowing a single gum by mistake won’t harm you. Still consuming too many gums can cause a blockage in your digestive tract that might need immediate medical attention or even an operation to remove it.

So always make sure to spit out the tasteless piece of synthetic rubber once it loses its sweet flavor.

Other FAQs about Chewing Gums that you may be interested in.

Can you eat Extra gum with braces

Can you eat trident gum with braces?

Can you eat airwaves chewing gum when pregnant?


This brief article answered the question, “Can Gum Go Bad?” with an in-depth analysis of chewing gum, factors affecting the shelf life, ingredients used to make chewing gum, and risk factors if you swallow it.