Home Travel Why You Shouldn’t Chew Gum On A Plane

Why You Shouldn’t Chew Gum On A Plane

by SharonKurheg

The first time I ever went on a plane, my parents gave me a stick of gum to chew on, to help with any potential ear pain from the pressure changes. For the next several years, any time I went on a plane I popped a stick of gum, just in case. As it turned out, some gastroenterologists (doctors who focus on the GI system) believe that probably wasn’t the smartest thing I could have done. Here’s why:

When you chew gum, you wind up opening your mouth more and swallowing more often, so part of what you swallow is air. Meanwhile, because of the pressurization of the cabin during flight, we’re already at more risk for passing gas in a plane. So the extra air you’re swallowing could be an added factor in farting on the plane. Or at least suffering from gas while you’re sitting there.

In fact, it even has a name. Aerophagia (aero = air, phagia = swallowing)

Oh, and if you’re chewing sugar-free gum? It’s a double whammy for feeling gassy, because artificial sweeteners can also give you gas.

Wait, is this a real thing?

The whole “chew gum on a plane and it could give you gas” thing? It is. A quick Google search of CHEW GUM SWALLOW AIR explains it.

That being said, I have a feeling that for most people, the amount of air they wind up swallowing is negligible. Or their GI tracts aren’t so sensitive that it makes a difference. But for some people, I guess it could.

So IF you have a tendency to have gas issues on planes and you’re one to chew gum while flying to avoid ear pain, it might be worth a shot to try something else, like one of these:

  • Use these things (I’ve been using them for years and they are AMAZING)
  • Yawn
  • Swallow (you don’t have to have anything in your mouth to swallow)
  • Suck on candy (you’ll still swallow air but your mouth will generally stay closed and you won’t swallow as much air as when you’re chewing gum)
  • Hold your nose and mouth shut and gently exhale (this is called the Valsalva maneuver. Don’t do it if you have a cold or allergies, because it could lead to an ear infection. Instead, try to Toynbee maneuver: close your mouth and nose and swallow several times until the pressure equalizes.

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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary

This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary

1 comment

Carl September 5, 2021 - 11:10 am

Stop chewing gum like a cow and keep your mouth closed. Problem solved.

Reply

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