Gum galore!


G. McClendon

Blowing bubbles, junior Margaux Smith and sophomore Katherine Pair compete to see whose is the biggest. What other food can do this?

Grayson McClendon, Sports Editor

Chewing gum solves many problems. Bored in class? Chew some gum. Forget to brush your teeth? Grab a stick. Trying to convince people you have real talent? Blow a bubble! Gum is a strange substance; we put it in our mouth and chew on it until it loses flavor, and then we spit it out. Weird. Senior Jaylon Henning said, “Bubble gum was really good when we were kids; 5 star gum is my favorite..”

Chewing gum originated about 7,000 years ago in Sweden. People of the time believed gum to be a natural tar, and a study from England revealed they were chewing birch bark. Meanwhile, the Mayans in Mexico were also chewing resin from a sapodilla tree, which is an evergreen tree native to southern Mexico. Gum began trending, booming in the 1800s. Soon after, factories full of workers were making thousands and thousands pieces of gum. Towards the 19th century, New York had taken over and established the craze, creating new flavors and sizes within the factories. It was not actually produced until 1908 and not sold to consumers until the ‘20s.

Chewing gum is made with five main ingredients, which include a gum base, flavorings, corn syrup, sugar, and softeners. To get the sticky and chewy texture away from the sap-like feeling, the gum base must be boiled. After all the ingredients are simply mixed together, it hardens, and then it is cut into different sizes and packed away to gum manufacturing companies. Gum comes in many different forms, such as sticks, gumballs and small cubes. Lots of companies also sell them in unique ways like Big League Chew which is in the shape of chewing tobacco similar to what baseball players were commonly seen chewing, and Bubble Crush Bubble Gum Nuggets, which are small balls that come in miniature soda cans.

Today, gum sales have skyrocketed! Not only are more than 100,000 tons of chewing gum being consumed every year, but every year over 374 trillion sticks of chewing gum are made! About half of the world’s population chew gum, and the average American chews 300 pieces of gum every year. Gum has been used for many things over the years, one of the purposes being trade items during World War II and studies show that chewing gum while studying can actually improve your test scores. Chewing gum also burns eleven calories per hour, and if you chew it on an airplane, it will keep your ears from popping.

High schoolers get the lucky privilege of, usually, being able to chew gum whenever they want to – remember how much stricter the rules were in middle school? Gum has proven to be very random. Gum is a wonderful snack used for many purposes, and do not worry if you swallow it; it will not take seven years to digest!