Chewing Gum: Characteristics and Components

chewing gum

What do you do when you want your breath to smell fresh in a pinch? Do you lug around a toothbrush and toothpaste for emergencies? Do you have a strong mint to keep any unwanted smells at bay? Or, do you rely on the age-old habit of chewing gum. In today’s blog, we’re talking about the characteristics and components of the latter. Plus, the health effects it provides. 

What is Chewing Gum?

Chewing gum is a soft, cohesive substance designed to be chewed without being swallowed. 

Its texture is reminiscent of rubber because of the physical-chemical properties of its components. These contribute to its elastic-plastic, sticky, chewy characteristics. 


Modern types get their composition from:

To manufacture gum, first the gum base is prepared through a melting and straining process. Next, they add other ingredients like sweetness and flavours until the mixture thickens like dough. Next, they heat the mixture to increase the chemical properties of the polymer. Thus, allowing for a more uniform dispersion of ingredients. Then, the gum goes through a shaping process. Lastly, the poll coating conditions the gum. 


The cultural tradition of chewing gum traces back to many early civilisations. Early chewers sought taste stimuli and teeth cleaning or breath-freshening capabilities. Old gum came from: 

The first flavouring of chewing gum arrived in the 1860s. 


What do we associate with chewing gum?

Health Effects

How does chewing gum affect our health?

  1. Brain Function. Evidence shows that chewing gum improves: working memory, episodic memory, and speed of perception. But, only lasts for about 15-20 minutes after the chew. 
  2. Dental Health. Sugar-free gum reduces cavities and plaque. In general, not only does gum add freshness to the breath, but it aids in removing food particles and bad-breath-associated bacteria away from the teeth.
  3. Use in Surgery. Chewing gum is a useful treatment therapy in open abdominal or pelvic surgery. Additionally, it aids in patient recovery from colon surgery.
  4. Stomach. Newly tried, gum is a treated for gastroesophageal reflux disease. One hypotheses for this is the production of more bicarbonate-containing salvia and the increase in rate of swallowing. However, conversely, chewing can contribute to the development of stomach ulcers. 

About the Author

Lydia B.

Lydia B.

Lydia B. is a Marketing Coordinator and Music Club Coach for Gooroo Clubs. Don't let after-school be an afterthought - join Gooroo's online platform centred around hands-on project-based learning!