Chewing gum is loved by many as a nice treat to entertain their mouths and freshen up their breath. While it may be nice for a while, eventually you are left with a rubbery and flavorless mass in your mouth. Chewing gum fits in a weird category where it is not quite classed as perishable. So, does gum expire?
Table of Contents
- Can Gum Expire?
- Should You Eat Expired Gum?
Can Gum Expire?
It is a blurred line as to if chewing gum can expire or not. There are a lot of countries where gum is not required to have an expiration date printed on the wrapping.
This is because gum is a very stable product and is also non-reactive. The main reason a lot of food perishes is due to moisture content, as this is what provides the most ideal conditions for bacteria to reproduce. This is even true for any edible goods found in the ocean such as sea moss. It is very difficult to stop food from expiring.
Gum typically has no moisture content in it, which explains why it is unlikely to expire. This does not mean that it will be fresh and perfect for eternity, as after some time the texture will noticeably change for the worse and become brittle. Alongside this, no matter how fruity or how minty your gum once was, the flavor is likely to become less prominent too, with time.
While this sounds like a complicated mess, there is a final answer. As both the texture and flavor of chewing gum are altered after it has been made and withstood a length of time – it does technically expire. This change, no matter how small, is proof that gum still decomposes with time. It just does so at a decelerated rate compared to other foods.
Can Expired Gum Make You Sick?
Expired gum does not make you sick on its own. As long as the gum has been kept safely inside the wrapping and packaging it came in, you will be safe. It is heavily recommended you do not eat gum that has been in a damaged, open, or ripped wrapper or packaging.
This means if you find gum that is old enough for you to worry about its expiry date and the package is ripped or open – you really should not eat it. It could be riddled with bacteria which is likely to make you sick.
What Happens if You Eat Expired Gum?
If you eat expired gum or gum that has been lost behind a desk for a few years, you will not notice anything insanely different about it. The majority of the changes are going to be related to the flavor and texture of the gum.
Instead of being soft and chewy, the gum is more likely to be brittle. It’ll break into smaller pieces when you try and chew it. The texture after this is also going to be less stringy and chewy, and a lot more rubbery.
As for the flavor, there may be a hint of it left in the gum. But other than that it will be nothing like it once was. The flavor is probably still strong enough to identify what it was. However, it will not be anywhere near as strong as it used to be.
Expired gum does not harm your body in any way that normal fresh gum does not. By this, I am on about repeated swallowing of gum. The continuous swallowing of chewing gum can lead to a blockage in your intestine as the body struggles to break down and digest it. In large quantities, swallowing gum can be very dangerous.
How Long Does it take for Gum to Expire?
Due to the low moisture content of chewing gum, the time it takes to classify as being expired is a lot longer than other foods and perishable goods. As long as it is stored properly, gum can be safe to eat for roughly 2 years.
Storing gum safely is not very difficult. It just needs to be kept out of direct sunlight and away from any heat source. This is because once the hard coating on gum melts away, it will expire at an accelerated rate.
Should You Eat Expired Gum?
Whether you eat expired gum or not is up to you. If it is an old packet you found in a desk drawer, the chances of it being safe to eat are pretty high. However, if you find it on the floor and the packet is all ripped and covered in dust, I heavily recommend against eating it.
While it may seem like a waste to throw it out, it is most likely for the better. Throw it away, and buy yourself a fresh pack.
FAQs on Gum Expiring
Orbit gum technically does expire, although it takes a long time. There is no expiry date on the package as the gum should be safe to eat for a very long time unless the package is ripped and bacteria have started breeding on the gum.
Trident gum is one of the only gum companies to have an expiry date on the packaging. This is because in the center of the gum pieces is a spot filled with liquid flavoring. This is a source of moisture which means it will expire quicker than other pieces of gum.