Mystery of the Dissolving Chewing Gum | Keep Cool & Chew On (K.C.C.O.)
Updated: Mar 3
Chewing gum has been one of the greatest past-times known to mankind. Whether you are gridlocked on the freeway during rush hour, trying to stay awake for an 8:00 am lecture, or simply freshening your breath before you pick up your hot date, chewing gum has always been there to support you!
Why does gum get hard or soft and disintegrate?
As awesome as chewing gum is, every once in a while something weird does happen with gum - Sometimes it gets hard too quickly, sometimes it’s too soft and sticky and sometimes it just melts in your mouth (not in a good way). I’ve had these issues before, so I figured I would learn about it and share my findings.
Heat, acids in our body and saliva play a huge part in gum disintegration. If a pack of gum is left in a hot car for too long it can lead to softness and sometimes even disintegration in the mouth. Yuck! I believe it has to do with a person’s saliva attacking and breaking down the gum when it’s warm.
Chewing gum while aroused can have a similar effect - your body releases chemicals (hormones) which can alter the normal make-up of your saliva. Eating buttery/oily foods before or while chewing gum can also lead to change in gum consistency as well. Overall it seems like this is NOT a common problem, but instead something that can happen under specific circumstances only.
Phil Robare, a Product Development Manager at Deerfield elaborates further on inconsistencies of gum and reasons this may happen. His post on the provides a few examples outlined below:
Experiment: Leave gum on your dashboard while parking on a hot summer day with your windows rolled up. Start to chew the hot gum and it will immediately begin to fall apart, forcing you to spit it out. At high temperatures your saliva sticks to the gum as well as the gum sticks to itself.
Experiment: Chew gum while drinking warm (body temperature) coffee. The gum will start to fall apart. Now breathe through your mouth. The gum will regain its elasticity and reverse its decline.
Experiment: Chew gum for several hours after it loses its flavor. The gum will gradually lose its elasticity, and become stickier as the saliva breaks down the gum.
Experiment: Eat (just a little) of something greasy while chewing. The grease will interfere with the gum's sticking to itself, allowing your saliva to attack it.
This problem can happen every once in a while, but it is relatively uncommon. From my experience chewing another piece of gum will likely yield a different result.
So all said and done, Keep Cool and Chew On, my friends.