For thousands of years, people worldwide have been chewing gums in a variety of forms. The original ones were made from tree sap, such as spruce. But, most modern gums are made from synthetic rubber.
This soft and rubbery substance is designed for chewing, but not for swallowing. The recipes depend on brand, but all chewing gums have some basic ingredients.
Check them out below…
Basic Ingredients Present in all Chewing Gums
Gum– non-digestible, rubbery base which gives gums their chewing quality
Resin– added for strengthening
Fillers– calcium carbonate or talc to provide texture
Softeners– added for moisture retaining and to prevent gum hardening- this may include waxes or vegetable oils
Preservatives– added to prolong shelf life, most commonly, a compound known as BHT
Flavorings– they provide the wanted flavor; can be natural or synthetic
Sweeteners- cane or beet sugar or corn syrup; gums free of sugar use xylitol or aspartame
However, most gum manufacturers keep their recipes a secret and the above-shown combination is their gum base. But, the ingredients still need to be food-grade and suitable for human intake.
Are Chewing Gum Ingredients Safe?
Generally, a chewing gum is considered safe. But, some brands do have several controversial ingredients. But, even so, the amounts are much lower than the amounts that can cause problems.
Are there Ingredients in Chewing Gums that can Cause Cancer?
When it comes to the claims that some ingredients in chewing gums are cancerous, it’s important to note that aspartame, a popular artificial sweetener is present in a lot of different chewing gum brands.
The issue with this substance is that when the body metabolizes it, it turns into wood alcohol that’s a poison and formaldehyde which is cancerous. Aspartame has also been associated with health issues like weight gain, Alzheimer’s, and brain tumors.
BHT, which we mentioned above, has been banned in a lot of countries due to its toxicity. But, in the US, it continues being added as a preservative in various products, including chewing gum.
Unfortunately, it’s been associated with hyperactivity in children, liver and kidney toxicity, and is currently being studied as a potential carcinogen.
Sugar-free gum brands often add calcium casein peptone for texture or whitening. This substance is a processed milk derivative. Even though there’s scarce data on the effects from long-term ingestion, it was associated with baby formula poisonings in China.
Acesulfame K which may also be present in some chewing gums is a potassium salt which contains methylene chloride- a well-known carcinogen.
Choose Natural Chewing Gums
If you want to be sure your chewing gum won’t come back to bite you, choose healthy ones with xylitol, natural flavorings, and vegetable glycerin. And, before buying chewing gums, always read the ingredients listed.
Xylitol chewing gums also help maintain a natural pH in the mouth cavity, making it less ideal for bad bacteria.
Plus, xylitol gum contributes to the formation of a protective tooth barrier and thus, bad bacteria find it harder to stick onto the teeth. Consequently, you’ll have less plaque buildup.