We all know that chewing gum can be a habitual preference that some of us can’t go without. But, regardless if chewing gum is a part of your everyday diet or not, we can still thank chewing gum for easing the intensity of an onion-laced breath post-lunch or subduing the hint of coffee from our breath each morning.
Still, there’s a lot about chewing gum that goes unnoticed. Did you know the Mayans and Aztecs could have been the world’s first gum chewers — using the resinous sap from the sapodilla tree to munch on? Or that, while not totally proven, chewing gum could boost your focus for brief periods of time?
Today, chewing gum has ballooned into a multi-billion dollar industry and doesn’t seem to be losing its pop anytime soon. Here are eight things you might not know about chewing gum.
1. It’s a Chewable Stimulant
Studies show it can improve mental function. In several group surveys with both chewers and non-chewers, researchers at St. Lawrence University discovered that chewing gum could deliver a sharper, more potent buzz of awareness that rivals caffeine.
Still, while chewers may experience a noticeable uptick of awareness, researchers estimate the burst only lasts for a few minutes.
2. It’s Been Used to Create Clones (Kinda)
In 2013, Philadelphia-based artist Heather Dewey-Hagborg went looking for samples of DNA for an art project called Stranger Visions. Hagborg gathered DNA from found objects like cigarette butts and chewed pieces of gum in order to build three-dimensional, printed, life-sized renderings of the human faces that were created from the DNA the objects contained.
3. It’s Been to Space
During the Gemini IV missions in 1965, astronauts James McDivitt and Edward H. White were the first astronauts to have reportedly smuggled chewing gum into space without permission.
4. It’s a Good Insect Deterrent
Methanol, a common additive in most mint-based chewing gum flavors has been known to keep bugs away from sweet and perishable items. So, for a quick, all-natural way to keep pests out of your pantry, just unwrap a stick of Wrigley’s and place it where you keep snacks.
It will keep it smelling fresh and safe from insects.
5. It Can Be Used as a Leak Sealer
In this YouTube video, a man demonstrates how Bubble Yum Bubble Gum can help prevent a leak in a 3,000 psi hot oil hydraulic pump. Ironically enough, one of the listed ingredients, gum base, is also used to make sealers, due to its rubber and elastic characteristics.
Well, whatever the case, it’s nice to know that gum is not only good for just chewing.
6. Someone Spent $14K on a Piece of Gum
When a pack of gum costs less than $5, it’s pretty astonishing to find out that one piece of chewed gum once sold for more than $10,000. In 2004, People magazine reported that a chewed piece of gum from the mouth of pop icon Britney Spears sold for $14,000 on eBay.
It’s unclear if the gum still had flavor.
7. World Record Chewing
Do you keep yourself awake at night wondering what the world record for most pieces of gum ever chewed is? Well, now you can rest assured knowing the answer to that important question.
The current record is 250 pieces chewed at one time, and was a record set by a Hollywood, CA, man named Lester.
8. It’ll Help Cure Swimmer’s Ear
It might seem insignificant, but there’s a lot gum does for our bodies without us really even knowing. While chewing gum can’t cure diseases, or be used for sustenance, it actually might help aid ear infections.
According to reports from The Wall Street Journal, chewing gum helps alleviate pressure in the sinuses and ear canal.