Chewing gum

History and Origins of Chewing Gum

  • Chewing gum has a long history, with evidence of its existence in many early civilizations.
  • The Mayans and Aztecs used chicle, a natural tree gum, to make a gum-like substance.
  • Ancient Greeks chewed mastic gum, made from the resin of the mastic tree.
  • Chewing gum has been made from various natural substances, such as birch bark tar and chicle.
  • Birch bark tar gum, dating back 5,000 years, was found in Finland and is believed to have antiseptic properties.
  • Mastic gum, made from the resin of the mastic tree, was used by the Ancient Greeks for oral health.

Commercialization and Modernization of Chewing Gum

  • The modernization and commercialization of chewing gum took place mainly in the United States.
  • The first commercial chewing gum, called The State of Maine Pure Spruce Gum, was developed in 1848.
  • The commercialization of chewing gum mainly took place in the United States.
  • Paraffin wax gum was developed around 1850 and became more popular than spruce gum.
  • Chewing gum gained worldwide popularity through American GIs in WWII.
  • Synthetic gums were introduced after chicle was no longer sufficient.
  • US manufacturers switched to butadiene-based synthetic rubber in the 1960s.
  • Chewing gum experienced a decline in popularity in the early 21st century.

Ingredient Composition and Manufacturing Process

  • Gum base is the main component of chewing gum, consisting of resin, wax, and elastomer.
  • Sweeteners, such as sugar alcohols and artificial sweeteners, provide initial and prolonged sweetness.
  • Glycerine is added to maintain moistness in the gum.
  • Softeners/plasticizers are added to increase flexibility and reduce brittleness.
  • Flavors, in liquid or powder form, are added for taste and sensory appeal.
  • Gum base is prepared through melting and straining or filtering.
  • Other ingredients like sweeteners and flavors are added to the gum base.
  • Mixing process heats the gum base to achieve uniform dispersion of ingredients.
  • Extrusion technology is used to smooth, form, and shape the gum.
  • Different shaping processes are used based on gum type and consumer demand.

Health Effects and Dental Health

  • Chewing gum improves cognitive functioning in domains such as working memory, episodic memory, and speed of perception.
  • Chewing gum induces arousal and can enhance cognitive functioning.
  • Chewing gum has a domain-specific effect and does not improve verbal fluency.
  • Chewing gum does not cause tooth decay and can reduce cavities and plaque.
  • Xylitol, a sweetener in sugar-free gum, inhibits Streptococcus mutans bacteria that contribute to tooth decay.
  • Sorbitol is less effective than xylitol in reducing cavities and plaque.
  • Other sugar substitutes like maltitol, aspartame, and acesulfame K do not cause tooth decay.
  • Chewing gum with fluoride strengthens tooth enamel.
  • Calcium lactate added to gum or toothpaste can reduce calculus formation.

Environmental Effects and Bans

  • Chewing gum is not water-soluble and is often improperly disposed of, sticking to surfaces such as sidewalks, benches, and handrails.
  • Removing gum from these surfaces is difficult, time-consuming, and expensive.
  • High pedestrian traffic areas often show a high incidence of casual gum discard.
  • Many schools do not allow chewing gum due to inappropriate disposal, distractions, and potential health risks.
  • In 1992, the Singapore government banned chewing gum due to cleanliness and safety concerns.
  • Chewing gum bans in schools and countries aim to address issues related to cleanliness, safety, and distractions.
  • The ban in Singapore has resulted in a gum-free environment in the city.
  • Chewing gum litter is the second most common form of litter, after cigarette litter.
  • British designer Anna Bullus developed a method to collect and recycle chewing gum into plastic.
  • The recycled gum is used to make various plastic objects, such as collection containers, shoe soles, and plastic cups.

Chewing gum Data Sources

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