Gum is type of candy that is chewed yet not swallowed.
It comes in all sorts of shapes and sizes. In addition, there are many
flavors, the most popular of which are spearmint, peppermint, and cinnamon.
There are other fruit flavors however they are not typical to chewing gum,
they are most often used in bubble gum. The consensus among many people
is that gum chewing helps increase concentration and relieve boredom. Studies
have shown that gum assists people in relaxing.
Most chewing gum consists of five main ingredients: gum base, sugar, corn syrup, softeners, and flavorings. Gum base is the primary ingredient, it is insoluble and does not dissolve when chewed, it is what makes the gum chewy. Hence the name gum base. Sugar is what sweetens the gum (There are gums that use artificial sweeteners as a substitute for sugar). Corn Syrup is what keeps the gum flexible and also aids in sweetening. Softeners, which are often vegetable oil products, blends the ingredients and soften by retaining moisture. Flavorings are responsible for adding the flavors to the gum.
The first recorded gum chewers were the ancient Greeks. The gum that they chewed was called mastiche because it was made from resin found in the bark of the mastic tree. Many years later the Maya Indians discovered a gummy substance made from the latex of the sapodilla tree called Chicle. In the colonial days Indians taught the New Englanders to chew the hardened sap from the spruce tree.
Modern chewing gum has its roots in the late 1860's. At that time, some chicle had been imported from Mexico to be sold as rubber. A New York City inventor named Thomas Adams Sr. attempted to make the chicle into rubber however he found that it would not harden. After some experimentation, Adams found it that when he boiled it the chicle made one heck-of-a chewing gum. Soon thereafter it became the gum of choice over the then popular spruce tree gum.
In the mid-1960's companies began to manufacture sugar-free gum. Dentists recommend sugarfree gum because they believe sugar can promote tooth decay. However there is research that suggests that the sugar in gum is separate from all the other ingredients and is cleansed from the mouth by the constant production if saliva during chewing.