girl blowing bubble gum

9 Fascinating Facts About Bubblegum

This gooey candy comes in so many yummy flavors, like grape and green apple. In fact, bubble gum is a flavor itself that has made its way into ice cream and toothpaste. And this popular, chewy candy is so fun that it is the subject of several kids' books about bubble gum!Most people don't think much about grabbing a pack while checking out at a store, other than what brand or flavor to choose. But there are some pretty interesting tidbits and history that will get you thinking next time you are chomping away.


gumball machine


Fun Bubble Gum Facts for Kids

Just like everything else, bubblegum has come quite a long way since it was originally introduced as a novelty candy. What started as a rather tasteless, chewy nugget has exploded into a multi-billion dollar industry with so many brands and flavors that it's hard to pick a favorite. Picking a pack of gum usually depends on a person's mood, personality, or momentary desires. A spicy dinner sticking around? A variety of mint flavors will do the trick. Craving a fruity flavor? There are no shortage of options. Feeling a little playful? Well, some good old fashioned bubble gum is always a fun choice! While enjoying on your favorite variety, here are some interesting bubblegum facts to chew on. 

girls blowing bubbles


People chew a whopping 100,000 tons of bubble gum around the world every single year!

Let's break this number down a little further for even more mind-boggling tidbits. An incredible 374 billion pieces of gum are sold annually. If each piece is chomped on for about one half hour, people worldwide spend 187 billion hours chewing away. When considering people in the US alone, approximately 1.5 billion units of bubblegum are  purchased every year. Another survey reports that Americans, on average, chew 200 sticks of gum per year.


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Some studies imply that chewing gum can help you lose weight.

This is a topic that is widely debated with inconclusive results depending on the study variables. First, let's look at the most obvious response to this statement. Opting for a piece of gum over candy or other junk food with higher sugar and caloric content is always a good idea. Some people feel the need to chew, despite not feeling hungry, so a piece of gum may just do the trick. Selecting sugar free sticks of gum are better, not only in terms of weight, but also for oral health. From a more scientific approach, some reports indicate that 11 calories per hour can be burned by chewing gum. Extrapolating this piece of data would indicate that people who chew gum for 4 hours daily could burn 308 calories weekly (or 1,232 calories monthly), resulting in weight loss of one third of a pound. The conclusions drawn from this study are quite controversial, so don't quit your gym membership quite yet!


bubble gum


Ever notice that you swallow a lot more when chewing gum?

That's because your salivary glands produce 250% more saliva when munching on some bubble gum. Here's a little health lesson- when unstimulated by chewing, the salivary flow rate is .3 to .4 mL/minute. Studies have shown that people who chew an unsweetened stick of gum increase the flow of saliva by 10 to 12 times the normal rate. Sweetened bubblegum has an even greater effect. In fact, people who suffer from a condition called hyposalivation, more commonly referred to as dry mouth, can benefit by chewing sugar free gum to stimulate the salivary glands.


blowing bubble


The very first commercial bubblegum was invented in 1928.

Although various forms of chewing material, mostly tasteless, had been around for many years. Historians point to evidence that Europeans chewed on birch bark, for both health and pleasure, more than 9,000 years ago. Mayans and Aztecs chewed on chicle, a substance derived from the sapodilla tree. Fast forward to the late 1800s when a company owned by Frank Fleer was successfully manufacturing chewing gum. In an effort to differentiate its product from the main competitor, Wrigley's, the owner invented Blibber-Bubber. This first bubblegum product proved to be too sticky for consumers. Fortunately, a diligent employee, Walter Diemer, formulated a batch of chewing gum that was a bit less sticky and could be blown into bubbles- aptly named Dubble Bubble!



Americans spend nearly 3 billion dollars on chewing gum every year.

Worldwide numbers point to annual spending in excess of 16 billion dollars. Projections over the next five years indicate the global chewing gum market will explode to a whopping 50 billion dollar industry. Sugar-free mint varieties reflect the strongest growth across all categories of chewing gum. Nevertheless, some industry experts are worried about the future market of bubble gum. Consumers are becoming more concerned with sugar intake, and are becoming more weary of the artificial sweeteners in sugar-free gum.


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The largest bubble recorded in the Guinness Book of World Records was 20 inches in diameter!

In 2004, Chad Fell blew a hands-free bubble measuring 50.8 centimeters wide. This big event occurred at Double Springs High School in Winston County, Alabama. Since this record was set on April 24, 2004, no one else has come close to successfully blowing a bubble this big. His secret weapon? Double Bubble bubblegum. Other brands with solid bubble blowing reports include Hubba Bubba and Bubblicious.


girl chewing bubblegum


The science behind why bubbles can be blown. 

Curious minds will find it interesting that polymers (multiples of simple chemical units) in the gum base convert a piece of gum into a flexible filmy substance when chewed. In order to blow a bubble, you are supposed to chew the gum until all the flavor is gone. The small sugar molecules are, therefore, no longer present to weaken the bubble. The chewing process aligns the long molecules with the gum base and allows for bigger, stronger bubble-making.


colorful gumballs


Chewing gum can help with dental health.

Some studies have shown that, in combination with twice daily brushing and fluoride treatment, sugar-free gum can reduce the risk of tooth decay.  Chewing increases the production of saliva, which in turn gets rid of food particles and neutralizes acids. Strong salivary flow also helps rinse away bacteria and reduces acid that weakens tooth enamel. The act of chewing itself has also been proven to strengthen teeth. Keep in mind that the benefits of chewing gum only apply when opting for sugar-free options. Although sugary gums will also improve saliva flow, the damage sugar causes to teeth is greater than the benefits of chewing.


girl blowing bubbles


Environmentalists do not like bubblegum.

The synthetic polymers are not biodegradable so once it is discarded, gum stays around for a very long time. Estimates indicate that it can take anywhere from 5-1000 years for gum to decompose. There are plastic contents in bubblegum preventing it from breaking down into organic material. In fact, chewing gum is attributed to 100,000 tonnes (metric tons) of plastic pollution every single year. So if gum is so harmful to the environment, you may be wondering what happens if you accidentally swallow a piece. Fortunately, stomach acid is quite effective at breaking down many of the components, like the sweeteners and preservatives. The synthetic polymers, on the other hand, present more of a challenge. They will remain in a person's digestive system for about a week until they are passed through a bowel movement.




bubblegum machine



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