Although chewing gum products were once routinely made using a form of latex rubber known as chicle, different ingredients are now used to create the consistency and texture of the gum. Mixtures of polymers and synthetic rubbers are combined with preservatives and flavor-enhancing compounds to provide the range of chewing gum options found on shelves today.
More facts about chewing gum:
- Ancient Greeks chewed a gum known as mastiche. The main ingredient in the gum was the resin found in the bark of the mastic tree. Mastiche was highly favored because the gum left a pleasant taste in the mouth and helped to sweeten the breath.
- The first commercial chewing gum sold in the United States came about because American Indians in what is now the New England area taught colonists how to harvest the resin from spruce trees. The spruce gum remained popular until the middle of the 19th century, when sweetened paraffin wax captured the majority of the chewing gum market.
- The use of chicle in chewing gum originated in the 1860s. Chicle is created by harvesting the juice from the sapodilla tree. Over time, the supply of chicle could not keep up with consumer demand, prompting gum makers to develop synthetic ingredients for use in mass producing sticks of gum.
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