“Is Chewing Gum Plastic?”

Asking questions is the first way to begin change. - Kubra Sait


Chewing gum certainly isn’t considered a healthy treat. Most consumers expect gum to be filled with artificial flavorings, sweeteners and dyes. Sure, in some cases the breath-freshening peppermint or spearmint could be plant-based, but what else is gum made of anyway? Would you be surprised to learn that you have been chewing on plastic?

Chewing gum has come a long way since its once-humble origins. Gum has been around since ancient times. Researchers discovered evidence of gum being used as medicine throughout the Mayan, Aztec and early Northern European societies. Developed in the 1860s, the first commercial gum was made from boiled spruce resin.

While chewing gum is still often used to soothe toothaches, calm anxiety, reduce sensitivity, freshen breath or curb hunger, the ingredient list now looks much different.

Troubling Gum Ingredients

Troubling Gum Ingredients

Just after World War II, chemists started to experiment with synthetic substances. They found that gums made of synthetic rubber were more pleasant to chew and lasted longer on the shelf before going brittle - as natural resin-based gums were prone to do.

Today mainstream chewing gum is made from a substance called gum base, which essentially food-grade plastic polymers, softeners, and texturizers. This is combined with sweeteners, glycerin; artificial colors and flavors; plasticizer to make it soft; and a polyol coating to make it last longer. Doesn’t sound very appetizing, does it?

It also isn’t good for your health. Exposure to plastics can affect your microbiome, gut health, and hormone balance.

Fortunately, there are some niche brands like Glee, Chewsy or Forest Gum that are made from purely plant-based, natural ingredients. These allow plastic-free satisfaction of the oral fixation and breath-freshening benefits of gum. But there may be other factors worth considering. 

Gum Chewing And Health Concerns

Troubling Gum Ingredients

Gum chewing has been associated with health concerns such as tooth decay, Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) disorders, and Irritable Bowel Syndrome. It might also initiate the release of mercury from old fillings.

To nix the gum habit altogether, you might try sipping water with crushed mint leaves or chewing on crystalized ginger. For personalized guidance on whole food nutrition or support in replacing unserving habits, schedule a phone consultation with Rose Boghos


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What To Remember

While gum was originally made from natural ingredients like tree resin, it has since become more synthetic.
Today’s chewing gum is made up of a plastic gum base paired with artificial colors and flavorings.
Replace gum chewing with a cleaner habit to protect your health.
Contact Rose for healthy lifestyle guidance. 

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Nix, Beth. (February 2015). Chew On This: The History of Gum. History.com: https://www.history.com/news/chew-on-this-the-history-of-gum

Nakagawa, Audrey. (June, 2021). Did You Know There’s Plastic in Most Chewing Gum? EcoWatch.com: https://www.ecowatch.com/plastic-chewing-gum-2653209141.html

West, Helen. (October, 2021). Chewing Gum: Good Or Bad? Healthline.com: https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/chewing-gum-good-or-bad

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