My Child Ate Chewing Gum | Illinois Poison Center 
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My Child Ate Gum (chewing)

Nov 27, 2020
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Chewing Gum                                                                  



This information applies to children who have unintentionally swallowed a small amount. If the child swallowed more than one mouthful, is having symptoms, or if you are not positive of the exact substance or amount swallowed, call your local Poison Center immediately 1-800-222-1222 to speak to a nurse, pharmacist or physician for recommendations specific to your situation.  The call is free and confidential.


  • Toxicity Level:  Minimally toxic


  • What It Is:  Chewing gum comes in many flavors.  It is used to freshen breath and for dental health.  It is not meant to be swallowed. Nicotine gum, is not chewing gum but rather a medicated gum.


  • Toxicity:  Chewing gum itself is not toxic or poisonous.*  It is considered a foreign body.  If 1 to 2 pieces are swallowed by a healthy child, no symptoms are expected.  If a child has stomach or intestinal problems, more serious symptoms (such as blockage in the intestines) can occur.  


  • Possible Symptoms of Poisoning:  Gum, like all foreign bodies, is a choking hazard.  If your child is choking on gum, call 911.  If the child ingested medicated gum such as nicotine gum, call your local Poison Center immediately.

If a large amount of gum has been ingested at once, an intestinal blockage can occur.  This is expected to be rare.  Symptoms of intestinal blockage include vomiting, constipation or other change in bowel habits, bloating in the abdomen, abdominal pain.


NOTE:  You should be concerned if your child experiences these symptoms:  choking, vomiting, constipation or other change in bowel habits, bloating in the abdomen or abdominal pain.  Call your local Poison Center right away at 1-800-222-1222.



  • What You Should Do:  Ensure your child is not choking, and then give him or her a few sips of water to ensure they can swallow easily.  If the child ingested a large amount of gum, observe for the symptoms described above.  If symptoms occur or if the child ingested a medicated gum (such as nicotine gum) call 1-800-222-1222.

NOTE:  If your child has gotten this substance in their eyes, please view our Eye Exposure information.



  • Other Important Info:  *Some artificial sweeteners found in chewing gum are extremely toxic in animals.  If your pet has ingested chewing gum, call the ASPCA animal poison center immediately at 888-426-4435.




If you have any further questions about this substance, or if your child is experiencing any symptoms, call the poison center experts who are available 24/7 via the free, confidential helpline: 1-800-222-1222.   Don’t guess, be sure!


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The IPC is the oldest poison center in the U.S. and serves one of the largest populations of all poison centers in the nation (covers all 102 Illinois counties with a total estimated population of nearly 12.9 million).  The IPC:


  • Provides a variety of free education and presentation materials that can be shared with your community (stickers, magnets, posters, children’s activity sheets, handouts, etc.).  Prior to placing your first order, if you haven’t already done so, please complete the free online Poison Prevention Education Course and Resource Center (PPERC) .  Eligible persons: anyone age 13 years or older living/working in Illinois; general public and healthcare providers alike.



  • Saves lives and improves patient care by working hand-in-hand with hospitals in Illinois to provide expert medical advice to doctors, nurses and paramedics treating patients exposed to potentially harmful substances. In addition, the IPC saves the people of Illinois $60 million annually by resolving 90 percent of poisoning cases from the general public over the telephone, preventing unnecessary 911 calls and visits to a doctor or hospital.  Click here for more information.