Have you ever wondered exactly what your chewing gum is made of? Want to know a few chewing gum facts before you stick that minty fresh substance in your mouth? I never really stopped to think about chewing gum too much before I had children. Other than being amazed when MacGyver used it for a few end of world survival episodes, I rarely gave chewing gum much thought at all. Then I had kids and I needed to rethink my gum habit!
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Many years ago, my husband and I took our two young children to visit their cousins. We stayed with them for almost a week and when we left, they had learned several things. Apparently, beds are more fun to jump on than to sleep in. They discovered that there are words in the English language that cause mommy and daddy near heart failure. They also learned that chewing gum is the most incredible substance ever made by man. At the ages of 4 and 6, my children had NEVER chewed gum. Boy was I less than happy about their new gum obsession. That gum obsession has stayed with them for life and as teens they ask me to buy it constantly.
A Few Chewing Gum Facts
What, exactly, is chewing gum made of? Do you know what you are really putting in your mouth? Yes, it is good for oral health but what happens to gum once you are finished chewing it and spit it out? Lets look at a few disturbing chewing gum facts….
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Is chewing gum eco friendly?
Chewing gum is not biodegradable. Once chewing gum exists….it exists forever! 560,000 tons of chewing gum are sold throughout the world every year. That is an awful lot of gum stuck on sidewalks and underneath classroom desks! There are actually towns throughout the world that have banned chewing gum in an effort to keep their streets clean. Since cleaning gum from public areas is currently a million dollar business, banning chewing gum is probably not a bad idea!
Chewing Gum Ingredients:
What exactly is chewing gum made of? Basically, depending on the brand, it is either a synthetic rubber, wax, or plastic that has added sweeteners, flavors and colors. Just like a rubber band doesn’t dissolve when you chew on it, neither does gum. I tried finding information on how long it would actually take for gum to biodegrade and the only reference that I found said ‘a really long time’. Think swallowing it is a solution? Nope…passes right through the digestive tract intact. Not even stomach acid can dissolve that stuff.
Random chewing gum facts
Here are a few random and occasionally disturbing chewing gum facts for you:
- Birds (especially young birds) have died by eating chewing gum
- Next to cigarette butts, chewing gum is the second largest littering item in the world
- The average person chews over 300 pieces of chewing gum a year
- Bubble Yum is the official chewing gum of Major League Baseball
- The first successful bubble gum (as opposed to chewing gum) was invented in 1928
- Chewing gum began as early as 7,000 years ago. Researchers have found lumps of tar with human teeth marks in them.
Gum has been around a long time and will continue to be around an even LONGER time because none of it is actually biodegrading. Instead, it is killing birds, causing millions of dollars worth of damage to sidewalks, and ending up in a lot of kids’ hair. (Every parent should know how to get gum out of hair!)
What can we do about the environmental gum crisis? How about buying a chewing gum that is certified organic and saving the rain forest?
Sustainable Gum Does Exist!
Sustainable gum really does exist! Chicza Gum is owned by a small co-operative in the Mexican rain forest. Chewing gum used to be made of a natural plant product called chicle. It is a white sap that comes from the Sapodilla tree (native to Central America). Once synthetic options became available, the chicle industry almost died out completely. Chicza gum comes from this natural chicle, that is removed without actually killing the trees themselves. Another big perk of the Chicza gum is that it is biodegradable!
End of World Survival Uses
Yes, chewing gum will actually survive the zombie apocalypse while YOU succumb to starvation, disease, and hoards of hungry zombies. Did you know that there are actual websites dedicated to teaching people about end of world survival? They know how useful chewing gum can be and recommend putting it in your survival kit. Here are a few chewing gum uses if you find yourself attempting to survive after a nuclear war or alien invasion:
- Use the metallic wrapper and an AA battery to start a fire. Not sure of the exact details here since I can’t remember which MacGyver episode that was in.
- Stop a leak with a ball of chewed up gum. Whether it is a hole in a water bottle or a leaky radiator, just plug it up with chewed up gum.
- Fight gum disease and tooth decay even if you lost your last toothbrush in the river during a zombie fight.
- Use chewed up gum as bait. Don’t do this unless you are actually attempting end of world survival since a fish that EATS gum will probably die from intestinal blockage.
- Barter with it. Apparently stockpiles of gum are very valuable in post apocalyptic days since things will be leaky and store bought fish bate is hard to find. Trade with your fellow survivalists who have leaky things to plug up.
Check out other end of world survival uses on the Family Survival Guide website.
Have any other end of world survival uses or chewing gum facts to share?
Diane has a Bachelor’s degree in Microbiology with a Minor in Health Management and Policy. She spent many years working in cancer research, academics, and biotechnology. Concern over the growing incidence of human disease and the birth of her children led her to begin living a more natural life. She quickly realized that the information she was learning along the way could be beneficial to many others and started blogging as a way to share this knowledge with others. While passionate about health and the environment she can’t quite give up her favorite Cheetos and Diet Coke! Learn more about her HERE.