Here's what actually happens when you swallow gum

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There are a lot of rumors about what happens to gum when you swallow it. Some say it sticks around in your stomach for seven years.

Well, don't be afraid -- it doesn't stick around forever.

SEE ALSO: 8 insanely dangerous foods people actually eat

There are three basic components to digestion. You have to mechanically break down the food - e.g. chewing. Next, enzymes in your saliva help pull nutrients from the food. Lastly, acids break down the food in your stomach so it can easily pass through your intestines.

Since gum is made from a rubber base -- it doesn't break up into small bits through chewing.

After swallowing it, the whole wad is left in your stomach to be broken down by the enzymes and acids.

But again, the rubber base is resistant.

Eventually it passes through your digestive track as is -- no harm done.

So while it won't kill you and won't stick around forever, give your digestive system a break and spit the wad out instead of swallowing.

RELATED: Check out Seattle's amazing wall of gum:

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Seattle Gum Wall
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Seattle Gum Wall
USA, Washington State, Seattle, Post Alley, Near Pike Place Market, Market Theater, Detail Of Colorful Gum Wall. (Photo by Wolfgang Kaehler/LightRocket via Getty Images)
USA, Washington State, Seattle, Post Alley, Near Pike Place Market, Market Theater, Detail Of Colorful Gum Wall. (Photo by Wolfgang Kaehler/LightRocket via Getty Images)
USA, Washington State, Seattle, Post Alley, Near Pike Place Market, Market Theater, Colorful Gum Wall. (Photo by Wolfgang Kaehler/LightRocket via Getty Images)
 A general view of the Pike Place Market wall in Seattle, Washington. Containing an estimated one million pieces of chewed gum, the Pike Place Market wall in Seattle is one of the world's most unusual as well as unhygienic tourist attractions. Taking second place in a survey conducted by TripAdvisor.com of the 'World's Germiest Attractions', the 50 foot long wall of gum has even inspired a scene in the Hollywood film, Love Happens, staring Jennifer Aniston. Beaten only by Ireland's famous Blarney Stone, which visitors kiss, the Seattle local landmark has slowly accumulated pieces of chewed gum since 1999. Now inches thick, brightly coloured messages adorn the wall as well as small art works made from peoples left over bubble or chewing gum. (Photo by Jamison Johnson / Barcroft USA / Getty Images)
A general view of the Pike Place Market wall in Seattle, Washington. Containing an estimated one million pieces of chewed gum, the Pike Place Market wall in Seattle is one of the world's most unusual as well as unhygienic tourist attractions. Taking second place in a survey conducted by TripAdvisor.com of the 'World's Germiest Attractions', the 50 foot long wall of gum has even inspired a scene in the Hollywood film, Love Happens, staring Jennifer Aniston. Beaten only by Ireland's famous Blarney Stone, which visitors kiss, the Seattle local landmark has slowly accumulated pieces of chewed gum since 1999. Now inches thick, brightly coloured messages adorn the wall as well as small art works made from peoples left over bubble or chewing gum. (Photo by Jamison Johnson / Barcroft USA / Getty Images)
A general view of the Pike Place Market wall in Seattle, Washington. Containing an estimated one million pieces of chewed gum, the Pike Place Market wall in Seattle is one of the world's most unusual as well as unhygienic tourist attractions. Taking second place in a survey conducted by TripAdvisor.com of the 'World's Germiest Attractions', the 50 foot long wall of gum has even inspired a scene in the Hollywood film, Love Happens, staring Jennifer Aniston. Beaten only by Ireland's famous Blarney Stone, which visitors kiss, the Seattle local landmark has slowly accumulated pieces of chewed gum since 1999. Now inches thick, brightly coloured messages adorn the wall as well as small art works made from peoples left over bubble or chewing gum. (Photo by Jamison Johnson / Barcroft USA / Getty Images)
A general view of the Pike Place Market wall in Seattle, Washington. Containing an estimated one million pieces of chewed gum, the Pike Place Market wall in Seattle is one of the world's most unusual as well as unhygienic tourist attractions. Taking second place in a survey conducted by TripAdvisor.com of the 'World's Germiest Attractions', the 50 foot long wall of gum has even inspired a scene in the Hollywood film, Love Happens, staring Jennifer Aniston. Beaten only by Ireland's famous Blarney Stone, which visitors kiss, the Seattle local landmark has slowly accumulated pieces of chewed gum since 1999. Now inches thick, brightly coloured messages adorn the wall as well as small art works made from peoples left over bubble or chewing gum. (Photo by Jamison Johnson / Barcroft USA / Getty Images)
Seattle Grunge Wedding. (Photo by Gregory Adams via Getty Images)
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