We have all been there. After organizing a junk drawer or emptying an old purse or bookbag, we have found the new pack of gum we bought 3-6 months ago and forgot to open.
So does chewing gum expire? Yes, gum expires, but it takes a very long time to degrade. Some chewing gum brands have an expiration date about six months after the manufacture date. Even after it expires, you can still chew it after its expiration without repercussions.
We will analyze the ingredients in chewing gum, how to watch out for expired gum, and if chewing expired gum can make you sick. Does chewing gum also have health benefits? Let’s find out!
What Are the Ingredients in Chewing Gum?
Analyzing the usual ingredients in chewing gum will uncover a few reasons why it lasts so long, but perhaps not as long as stevia does.
Food-grade polymers give gum that stretchy and chewy texture we all know and love. The food-safe waxes enhance the flavors integrated into various chewing gum brands. Other ingredients in the gum may include:
- Bht (retains freshness).
- Artificial colors and/or flavors.
- Glucose or corn syrup.
Aspartame is a lower-calorie alternative to sugar. You only need a little bit of aspartame to get the same sweetness effect as sugar without piling on the calories. The sugar alternative is 200 times sweeter than white table sugar.
The FDA suggests you can ingest a maximum of 50 milligrams per kilogram of body weight daily. One stick of gum roughly contains about 6-8 milligrams of aspartame.
A few sticks of aspartame gum here and there will not hurt you, but consuming too much aspartame can lead to an influx of formaldehyde on the body which can cause cancer. Limit your intake of gums with this ingredient.
Sorbitol is a sugar alternative that has about 60% of the sweetness of regular sugar and it contains 35% fewer calories compared to each gram of standard sugar. Limit your intake of gums with sorbitol because too much of the polyol in your body can upset your stomach.
Xylitol in gum helps to retain your dental health because it does not decay your teeth like regular sugar. The regular and moderate use of xylitol can reduce the likelihood of cavities forming. Try to find a gum brand that you like that has xylitol rather than aspartame or sorbitol.
How Long Does Chewing Gum Last?
Gum can last for many years because it can maintain its shape. Its non-reactive materials with little moisture in the product make it long-lasting. Considering these properties, the International Gum Association states that most countries do not require that there be an expiration date on gum products.
What Does Expired Chewing Gum Look Like?
Does chewing gum expire? If so, what does it look like? Expired chewing gum looks normal when you unwrap it. The texture you feel when you put it in your mouth is a huge difference.
When chewing fresher gum, it is soft, pillowy, and well…chewy! However, if the gum has sat for too long in your bag or junk drawer, it will become brittle and break up into little pieces in your mouth rather than the usual mushy texture.
How To Know When To Throw Away Expired Chewing Gum
When chewing gum becomes brittle, the material breaks down. While brittle gum is still safe to chew, it may be a lower quality that is not as tasty as chewing a new package of gum.
It is your discretion as to whether you want to throw out the brittle gum or keep it. You can still chew brittle gum, but the taste will not be as good as the sticks in a new pack.
Can Chewing Expired Gum Make You Sick?
In most cases, chewing expired gum will not make you sick. If it has a low sugar dose per serving and does not have too much caffeine, you will not vomit from chewing the general piece of gum that is too brittle.
Students located in South Africa got sick and vomited from ingesting energy gum laden with too much sugar and caffeine. They eventually vomited and had to be transported to the hospital. While the gum was taken to a lab for analysis, it was never pinpointed what made them all sick.
A 2009 medical journal entry showed how one teenage male consumed two packages of energy gum within four hours while at school one day. The caffeine in the gum made it equivalent to drinking three cups of coffee, which was a quantity he was not used to.
Is Chewing Gum Good for You?
Studies have shown that chewing gum can help you to perform better on standardized tests and to have enhanced episodic memory recall. Depending on the gum’s texture, it would make changes to blood flow and heart rate.
Other studies have shown that people are less stressed when they chew gum. Scientists compared one group performing tasks while chewing gum and compared with another group of people doing the same actions without the gum. Those that chewed the gum performed the tasks better than those not chewing it.
Chewing gum has also shown dental health benefits. If you chew sugar-free gum, the sugar substitute will be sorbitol or xylitol. Either ingredient can be enamel to remineralize. Your teeth will stay whiter because the enamel grows stronger to protect it from breaking down from dietary acids.
What Does Nicotine Gum Do for You?
If you consume nicotine gum, it will reduce your desire to smoke to break your habit. The gum incorporates a drug delivery system with smoking cessation aids.
As you regularly ingest the correct dosage daily, you will healthily and safely handle the smoking withdrawal symptoms better. The cessation aids coupled with chewing therapy will put your mind at ease to focus on other responsibilities and hobbies rather than jumping back into smoking.
Does chewing gum expire? Yes, it expires, but it cannot hurt you if you ingest it. Despite its safety, expired gum’s taste and texture are not ideal. Standard name brands of gum are cheap anyhow, so if you prefer a better taste and texture experience, ditch the old gum and grab a new pack!