Kids Want To Know: Where Does Gum Come From?

3:40 PM, Sep 16, 2013   |    comments
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Greensboro, NC -- 3.7 trillion pieces of gum are made every year! And Zoey Hammer asked, "Where does gum come from and does it come from trees?"

As far as historians can tell, the ancient Greeks chewed a form of gum. made from the resin of the Mastic tree.  The Mayans chewed a gum made from the Sapodilla tree. And the North American Indians chewed sap from Spruce trees.

These days, trees are not involved.
But lots of flavors are! The folks from the Sugar Shack in Greensboro explain.

Shawna Chrismon says, "There's basically three main ingredients in gum. You've got your sweetener, be it sugar, corn syrup, or  artificial sweetener."

Chrismon goes on to explain there is also a gum base, which can be various different things, and then you have your flavoring.
Your main ingredients are mixed and then they're formed into the shapes that you see today.

There are thousands of different flavors. One of the original flavors for gum that was created in the United States was black jack which is a licorice flavor. And then from the black jack it went to the chiclets, which started because they were using chicle from a specific tree in South America trying to produce a good gum base with it.

One of the first commercial producers of it was actually a dentist who was using it to help keep teeth clean.

By the way, you work off 11 calories for every hour of gum chewing you do!

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