Gum is usually passed through the digestive system like regular food, according to the Department of Otolaryngology of the New York Langone Medical Center. Gum can cause constipation or intestinal obstruction in rare cases when multiple pieces of the gum are swallowed.
A common myth that it takes 7 years for gum to digest is false, according to Scientific American. Besides natural or synthetic gum base, gum is mainly composed of saccharin or sorbitol or mannitol, glycerin, flavors, vegetable-oil based compounds, colors and preservatives. All other substances are digested by the intestinal tract; however, the gum base itself is indigestible and is excreted intact through the digestive system in the same amount of time as other edible substances.