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Frequently asked questions

Please check out our list of Frequently Asked Questions to learn more....


What is chewing gum?

Chewing gum is made up of five basic ingredients -- gum base, flavorings and colorings, preservatives, sweeteners, and softeners. Gum base is the insoluble part of the product that puts the "chew" in chewing gum.

This combination allows chewing gum, unlike any other food, to deliver chewing pleasure and flavor sensation that is released over an extended period of time. Add in various consumer benefits – ranging from oral care to stress reduction to calorie management – and it is easy to see why chewing gum is one of the most popular forms of confectionery worldwide.

What is gum base?

Gum base is what gives chewing gum its “chew.” It is made of a combination of food-grade polymers, waxes, and softeners that give it the texture desired by consumers and enable it to effectively deliver sweetness, flavor, and various other benefits, including dental benefits.

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Is it true that chewing gum is good for oral hygiene and has other benefits as well?

Yes. It is widely accepted that chewing sugar-free gums is beneficial to oral hygiene. Additionally, the ingredients in sugar-free gum are not fermentable by oral bacteria, an important factor in the development of cavities.

Saliva is your body's natural defense against tooth decay. It contains buffering agents that help neutralize the acid that causes cavities. Chewing gum stimulates the production of saliva, which helps to neutralize acids after only 20 minutes of chewing.

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What can you tell me about other ingredients in chewing gum?

ICGA Members use only safe and legally permissible ingredients in their chewing gum products . Quality controls are in place during all phases of chewing gum production to ensure that the ingredients and the end products comply with the requirements and limits set by regulatory authorities and legislation.

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Why is there generally no expiration date for chewing gums?

Chewing gum is a very stable product because of its non-reactive nature and its low moisture content. Because of this, chewing gum retains its quality for a longer time than most other food products – so long, in fact, that chewing gum is not required by law to be labeled with an expiration date in most countries. Chewing gum that is not used may, over time, become brittle and lose some of its good taste, but the product will remain safe to chew.

Can chewing gum contain animal-derived ingredients?

With some exceptions, chewing gum generally does not contain animal-derived ingredients. Gelatin is one example of an animal derived ingredient which can be used to give a specific texture to some chewing gum products, in particular to pellet gum. When animal-derived ingredients are used in chewing gum, they are used in compliance with all appropriate safety and quality standards and they are clearly indicated on the product package in full compliance with domestic and international labeling regulations.

Should consumers have specific questions regarding the potential use of gelatin or other animal-derived products in a specific chewing gum product, ICGA advises consumers to check directly with the manufacturer of the product.

Can chewing gum contain allergenic substances?

Chewing gum does not typically contain significant amounts of the eight major allergens that are known to cause most allergic reactions.

However, because chewing gum is a food, its labeling is governed by national labeling requirements, including requirements relating to allergen disclosure. Sensitive consumers with specific concerns about the ingredients contained in chewing gum should review the label and may wish to consult with the individual manufacturers.

Is gum safe to swallow?

Yes. If chewing gum is swallowed, it simply passes through the digestive tract of human body.

Is there a risk of choking when chewing gum is swallowed?

While chewing gum is not intended to be swallowed, it presents no greater risk of choking than any other food.  

As with any food product, chewing gum, in exceptional circumstances, can present a risk of choking for children and even adults. 

As such, we believe that mindful consumption and broad-based training in first aid response remain the most effective means of preventing choking. 

At what age can children begin chewing gum?

There are no specific guidelines on when a child may appropriately start chewing gum as each child's development is unique and variable.

Ultimately, the parent or custodian is responsible for deciding at what age, and under what conditions, children can consume any food, including chewing gum, and to ensure that children are aware of and understand any potential choking risk.

Can chewing gum contain alcohol?

No. Chewing gum does not contain the type of "alcohol" contained in wine, beer, and spirits. Many chewing gums, however, do contain bulk sweeteners known as polyols – or ‘sugar alcohols’.  Although these substances share the same chemical name, their characteristics and properties are quite different.

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Why is there a warning about laxative effects on some chewing gums?

Some chewing gum labels may contain a warning about a possible laxative effect. When some bulk sweeteners such as sorbitol and xylitol are consumed at high levels – either in chewing gum or other food products – some consumers may experience a mild laxative effect.

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How can I best get gum unstuck if it ends up where it doesn't belong?

1. From Clothing...

2. From Carpet...

3. From Hair...

4. From Concrete Sidewalks, Patios or Other Hard Surfaces...

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Can discarded chewing gum cuds transmit diseases?

It is extremely unlikely.

Discarded gum from an infected individual would be expected to dry quickly in the environment and has a low organic content that would not sustain the viability of the organism. In addition, discarded gum is unlikely to be picked up or chewed by anyone else. For all practical purposes, gum cud would be an extremely unlikely means of transmitting disease between humans.