A video posted on YouTube explains what happens in the digestive tract when a chewing gum is swallowed.
According to the video, there are three basic components to digestion. The first one consists of the mechanical processes necessary to process the food before swallowing – the actual chewing.
The second component involves the enzymes or proteins from the saliva and the stomach which help decomposing the chewed food. In the third phase, the acids which break up the food into small particles so they can travel comfortably through the intestines.
When you eat, the teeth and tongue work together to break the food into small pieces. Then, the muscle movements push the food through the digestive tract until it arrives to the stomach and is dissolved by gastric juices.
Chewing gum is different; this product is not designed to be digested, as it contains natural or synthetic rubber base. Butyl rubber, usually used in making chewing gum is a synthetic rubber which is also used in making tires and balls.
While enzymes are able to decompose glucose, fats and alcohol from chewing gums, the rubber is immune to these enzymes. Not even stomach acid can dissolve rubber, as this material is so resistant that it is even used in manufacturing protective rubber gloves. As a result, a part of the gum survives all the mechanisms of the digestive tract, but it gets eliminated at the end of digestion.