Can out-of-date chewing gum make you sick? (+3 benefits)

In this article, we will answer the question “Can out-of-date chewing gum make you sick?”, and are the ingredients in the chewing gum safe?

Can out-of-date chewing gum make you sick?

No, out-of-date chewing gum won’t hurt you. Chewing gum is not required to have an expiration date legally. However, some brands might voluntarily print an expiration date on the gum package. 

The low moisture content of the chewing gum renders it inert and makes it a very shelf-stable product. Gums become brittle as time passes but remain safe. Therefore, eating expired gum may not be a pleasant experience but It sure won’t be unsafe. 

What is chewing gum?

As the name suggests, chewing gum is not supposed to be swallowed. It has a soft and rubbery texture that can be easily chewed.

All the ingredients of the chewing gum should be strictly food-grade. The ingredients of the chewing gum vary from brand to brand but more or less includes the following.

Gum: This is the rubbery base common to all chewing gums. It is what makes the gum chewy.

Resin: Resin provides structural stability to the gum and holds it together.

Fillers: Fillers like calcium carbonate or talc provides the gum texture.

Preservatives: Preservatives, most commonly Butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT), are added to prolong the shelf-life of the gum.

Softeners: Softeners include waxes like paraffin or the cheaper vegetable oil. These prevent the gums from going brittle or becoming hard by locking the moisture inside the gum. 

Sweeteners: common gum sweeteners include cane sugar, beet sugar, and corn syrup. Sugar-free gums contain sugar alcohols like xylitol or artificial and non-nutritive sweeteners like aspartame.

Are the ingredients in the chewing gum safe?

All the ingredients of the chewing gum are legally required to be food-grade which means they are safe for consumption. Some brands might add secret controversial ingredients in their product for a distinct flavor. 

Even then the gum remains safe for consumption since the amounts of these ingredients are much lower and within the safe and acceptable limit.

Butylated Hydroxytoluene (BHT)

BHT is a popular preservative. It is an anti-oxidant and works by preventing fat rancidity. The jury is still out to have an opinion on the safety of the BHT. High doses of BHT have been linked to cancers in some animals. 

As per the FDA and the EFSA, a dose of 0.11 mg per pound of body weight (0.25 mg per kg) of BHT is considered safe.

Titanium dioxide 

Titanium dioxide is used as a food additive due to its whitening properties. It also helps give food a smooth texture. 

Higher doses of titanium dioxide have been linked to the nervous system and organ damage in rats. 

However, more research is needed to confirm this effect. Food that contains Titanium dioxide is safe limits so It won’t be a problem.

Aspartame 

Aspartame is a very popular sugar-free sweetener. This highly controversial non-nutritive sweetener has been linked to headaches to obesity to cancer. 

But there is not enough evidence to brand it unsafe. Chewing gum or other food product contain safe levels of aspartame.

Chewing gum can reduce stress and boost memory 

Chewing gum while doing taste has been found to improve cognitive functions. It makes you more alert, sharpens your memory, and enhances the overall decision-making power of your brain. 

Chewing gum while working might sound like a distraction at first but studies have shown It helps improves focus in the longer run. It has been theorized that the improved focus is due to the increased blood circulation to the brin because of the action of chewing gum. 

Chewing gum has also been found to reduce stress by blocking the release of cortisol (the stress hormone). But there is not enough evidence to prove all the above-stated benefits.  

Chewing gum could help you lose weight 

Chewing gum can help fulfill your sweet cravings. It does so by reducing appetite. Chewing gum has also been found to increase the metabolic rate. 

All of these factors help lose weight. However, more research is needed to prove the effects of chewing um on weight loss.

Chewing gum could help protect your teeth and reduce bad breath 

Chewing sugar-free gums prevents cavities. Chewing gums that contain xylitol be more effective at protecting your dental health. That is because xylitol is capable of preventing the growth of bacteria that promote tooth decay and bad breath.

Moreover, chewing gum improves the saliva flow after meals which washes your teeth and gums of harmful sugars and food debris.

Conclusion

In this article, we answered the question “Can out-of-date chewing gum make you sick?”, and are the ingredients in the chewing gum safe?

References

https://spoonuniversity.com/lifestyle/does-gum-expire
https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/chewing-gum-good-or-bad#TOC_TITLE_HDR_6

Hello, I'm Sana Ameer. I'm a student of Food Science and Technology at UVAS. I like to bake and I aspire to become a Food blogger.