What are the risks of swallowing chewing gum? And above all, we thus increase the risk of appendicitis, as popular fear claims. Let’s sort the truth from the false with Dr. Gérald Kierzek, emergency physician and medical director of TipsForWomens.
Did your child accidentally swallow his gum and do you remember a rumor that claims that a small piece of gum could inflame the appendix? Rare case, lie or reality? We asked the question to Dr. Gérald Kierzek, emergency physician and medical director of TipsForWomens.
Chewing gum does not stick to the wall
For him, there is no risk of suffering from sudden appendicitis due to accidentally swallowed chewing gum.
“Chewing gum, despite its sticky appearance, does not stick to the wall. Either we swallow it and it ends up digested by digestive enzymes in the stomach, or it ends up being expelled. Appendicitis is an inflammation linked mainly to a residue of fecal or food matter, but not to a sticky treat.
So there is no need to monitor your child for the next 24 hours or more.
A food that is not made for this
The doctor points out, however, that chewing gum is not meant to be chewed in quantity, and even less swallowed. However, occasional ingestion is not risky. “It may take longer to come down or be digested, but we might as well put another rumor to rest: it doesn’t stay in the stomach for 7 years either. As long as it goes through the right conduit, there’s no problem.”
Chewing gum is still not recommended for young children because their intestine does not break it down.
In the columns of the Dispatch in 2020, Fabrice Muscari, professor of digestive surgery at Toulouse University Hospital, mentioned only one risk to this bad habit: “If young children swallow several in a very short time, they can form a small ball causing intestinal obstruction.
It is therefore best to avoid this very rare emergency by limiting the number of chewing gums available to your child. It will also be a good idea to preserve your teeth!