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Bursting the Bubble on Chewing Gum

Chico Zapote tree where chicle gum comes from.
Where Gum Comes From

Do you ever wonder what it is about chewing gum that gives you hours of chewing enjoyment? Why is it that the flavor disappears long before you get bored from blowing bubbles and chewing? Keep reading to find out what gum is made out of and why we can chew it for so long.

A Bit of History

Before WWII chewing gum was made from chicle and flavors. Chicle is sap that comes from the sapodilla tree. Basically, chicle is a form of rubber. Think of rubber bands. When you chew on rubber bands (gross!) they don't dissolve and neither does chicle. Chicle is a bit softer and hardens and softens according to temperature.

Chicle practically became non-existent after the war, so scientists were forced to come up with a new resin (tree sap or rubber.) Since then, gum bases have been made from various natural and unnatural resins. All of them become softer when heated and harder when cold, just like chicle. While a lot of natural resources are hard to come by for gum, the Wrigley Company still uses softener in the base which comes from pine trees found in some parts of the United States.

Chew on This

Enough of the history lesson. The main ingredients in gum are sugar, gum base, corn syrup, softeners, flavoring and coloring. Gum base is mostly plastic and rubber but it also might have latex which is a natural ingredient. Natural latex, such as chicle, is the sap from trees in the rain forest. Gum manufacturers like to keep their exact recipes secret.

So what you should have learned is that the reason gum doesn't dissolve in your mouth is because you are chewing on a wad of rubber and/or latex with a bit of flavoring. This also means that when you swallow gum it won't be digested so it comes out in one piece. It will, however, stay inside you for a few days.

Did you know that it is illegal to manufacture, import or sell gum in Singapore?

When I was younger, I would watch "Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory" all the time. So, one time I decided I didn't want to spit out my gum, and so I put it behind my ear like Violet does in the movie. It was a sad picture when I woke up the next morning with gum everywhere in my hair. I had to use olive oil, and about 3 or 4 hours of combing to get out all the gum. My parents even had to cut some of my hair because they just couldn't get it out.

Kidz Submit by:

Nickname: silverfire828
Age: 16

Have your Say:

Do you have any gum popping stories you wanna share? Any embarrassing moments - like getting gum stuck in your hair at school?

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Comments

Shadeleaf

Shadeleaf wrote:

We're allowed to have gum at school as long as it doesn't pop
commented: Sat Jan 03, 2015

kmerr

kmerr wrote:

when I was younger I use to chew on gum all the time not now
commented: Sat Jan 03, 2015

KeYdaKid

KeYdaKid wrote:

I dont see anything wrong with chewing tree sap, thats the way its always been.
commented: Sat Jan 03, 2015

there are 34 more comments

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What's the Grossiest Thing You've Chewed on?

  • Eraser.
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  • Someone else's gum.

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