Since childhood, we’ve all been taught to spit out our gum, instead of swallowing it, in fear that a giant ball of chewed sticky stuff will sit in our stomachs for almost a decade. This has proven to be an old wive’s tale (or “alternative fact”), but one person could be taking it too far.

Cue Sean Spicer, President Donald Trump’s new White House Press Secretary. In a recent interview with The Washington Post, he confesses to a daily habit of chewing and quickly swallowing about 35 pieces of Orbit cinnamon gum each day.

“Two and a half packs by noon,” Spicer told The Post. “I talked to my doctor about it, he said it’s no problem.”

Read: Swallowing Gum Doesn’t Mean It’ll Be In Your Stomach For 7 Years; Your Digestive Tract Is More Efficient Than That

Wow. Is Spicer’s gum-swallowing habit actually bad for his health — and would it be bad for yours?

As Medical Daily has reported, this “non-food” item is composed of of four main components: sweetener, flavoring, softening/bulking agents, and a rubber base. The last ingredient is the most difficult to break down, because rubbers are made of polymers. Meanwhile, gum ’s other three parts can typically be decomposed by the stomach ’s natural enzymes and acids.

From there, the undigested gum will move into the intestines and then pass through the body with the rest of the unused waste.

Read: Sugar-Free Gum Could Save You From Oral Health Problems, And The NHS $9 Million A Year On Dental Treatments

How long does gum take to actually pass? Well, it’s definitely not seven years.

Gum may come out between one and three days after being swallowed — Robynne Chutkan, MD, a gastroenterologist and assistant professor of medicine at Georgetown University — told WebMD.

But swallowed gum, plus constipation, can cause serious intestinal blockage in children, the Mayo Clinic has said. In other words, there's a reason for the scary tales of swallowed gum that you were told as a kid.

See Also:

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