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My son has asked for gum time and time again (he's 5). I haven't let him have any myself but I know that he has had some at school before in a goody bag. I don't see anything wrong with gum chewing at his age. His teeth are in excellent condition and they make sugar free gums now that rock. I chew gum all the time especially at work between breaks to keep me from losing my sanity. Gumballs are a no no though, I'm way to paranoid about him choking.

Dawson's learned to chew gum last summer. My brother taught him how to chew it and he actually keeps it in his mouth. I can't believe it.

I still dread the day I find some in the carpet, however. There was a time he woke up with a piece of gum in his mouth and then I had to stop giving him any for awhile. I don't want that crap in my hair (we're co-sleepers 'round here).

"More important is the danger of choking from chewing gum at a young age. Until about five, most children do not grind what they chew. If choked upon, gum doesn’t shrink much and, although it probably wouldn’t block the airway completely, it might cause respiratory distress. So I would recommend that children under five not chew gum."


Originally published in Today's Parent, April 2005

My kids don't chew it, but that's probably because I don't either, so they don't seem to be aware it exists yet. If they ever do chew it, the first thing I plan on teaching them is, "It's really gross to leave your chewed gum in a water fountain. Or under a table. Don't do that."

No, I don't give my three year old gum. But I don't chew it either, so I don't think he has a clue what it is.

My son chews gum frequently. He's 3 and a half. He discovered it when he was maybe 18 months. I told him not to swallow it. Sometimes he does. But, honestly, I've pretty much always swallowed my gum and I've always been fine.
We relented on the gum issue when he discovered he could pick gum off of the bottom of tables PRE-CHEWED.
I made him a deal that if he needed gum he could just ask.
Far less scary than pre-chewed if you ask me.

lil' munchkin turned three the end of December and we tried letting her last summer after non-stop BEGGING and of course, she swallowed it. We would let her try again every few weeks and now she has it down pat. Except she wants to spit it out after 5 minutes, get a new piece, spit it out after five minutes - repeat. repeat. repeat...

No gum, but yesterday CJ stuffed three lollipops into her mouth at once.

(I will be starting an anti-lollipop lobby at local banks and liquor stores.)

I just sent you a hilarious e-mail on this topic. You have to see the photo

I started giving my 4 yr old a piece of gum as a reward for behaving in the grocery store about a year ago. At the one we go to now, they have those tattoo machines by the exit doors, so she gets a Pooh Bear or Princess tattoo instead of gum. I never had any problems with her getting gum in her hair or clothes or anything, but she did swallow it a few times.

Sometimes. . .but, my 4 yo has 8 cavities, and I'm worried that gum will rip them out of her teeth.

No. But that didn't stop the grandparents from letting her chew gum.

My daughter put gum into her hair not once, not twice, but three times.

So no gum. For anyone. Cuz apparently, around these parts we can't keep it in our mouths...

Like Fern, I used it as a potty training tool (bribe). My 3 year old (she's now 15 and would DIE if she knew I was sharing this with the internet) would not poop in the potty. Pee, yes, but not the other. I tried every other bribe under the sun, and then one day it dawned on me to try gum. I propped a wrapped stick of gum on top of the mirror in the bathroom and told her that it was her next piece of gum, which she could have when she pooped in the potty. It happened the next day, and forever after that. No more poop in her pants, ever. All for the love of gum. It is a good thing.

My kids were chewing gum at six months old. No, I am not kidding. They're twins, and had a little oral-motor issues (now all grown-out-of, thankfully), and my MIL is a speech therapist. They were on a gum-chewing routine at 6 months (with supervision) and have been chewing gum independently since they were, oh, about 20 months old. They've never had any problems, even when they were little, with swallowing gum. I mean, it happens from time to time, but not often. And, I'm told, there's just about nothing better to stregthen oral motor coordination skills in young children. Go figure.

My kids don't chew gum because I am the crazy lady that absolutely can't stand gum. I don't even let my husband chew gum in the house. And whenever I'm at a restaurant, I can't quite deal with the fear that there MIGHT be gum under the table and I MIGHT brush against it. It's a sensory issue of mine. Blech. No judgment on the gum chewers though. If anything, I'm the insane one.

Yes, and now that little booger ask for it all the time. And we throw our gum on the street, just our way of helping the city fix the potholes.

I've given my four-year-old son gum a very few times--when we're on the road all day without a toothbrush.

My 5-year-old has gumballs occasionally but neither of the boys like mint - I still have to get the toddler training toothpaste for HRH.

Daddy bought him that "foot of gum"/tape roll once. WTF?

I do, it's such an incredibly huge treat for them and after saying no for so long I gave in. I always found it kind of gross, but my teeth are so bad I decided to try chewing it after meals, it's actually worked pretty well, so of course they found it.)

I worried cuz my little guy (now 4) always swallows it... he always says he didn't, but he didn't quite grasp the concept, and now will reach down his throat and say oops. but after my husband said he swallowed hundreds of pieces throughout his childhood I stopped worrying. And it's easier than being handed a piece of chewed up gum, yuck.

They get gum in the car. If they take it out of their mouths then they are "grounded" from gum for a week. It keeps them from getting into arguments in the car, so there you go.

Instead of gum, I give my 3.5 year old chewing tobacco. I figure if I get her hooked on it now, I won't have to worry about her having (m)any dates once she gets to be dating age. There is the whole cancer thing, but I figure in 10 years we'll have that solved, right? Right? Who's with me?

I don't like either of the kids (the teen or the kindergartener) to check gum. The BoyChild can't have it because it's got all kids of crap he's allergic to in it and I don't like the GirlChild to have it because she STILL can't ever get it into a trash can and it ends up on the hardwood, the bathtub or the worst, the carpet.

Gum is totally okay for toddlers. Now xanax on the other hand...that stuff you need to dole out in moderation.

(I'm just kidding. Gum is from the devil.)

I've been resisting this, even though The Poo is keenly interested in gum. But I know if I give it to her once, I'll have to buy stock in Wrigley.

I think anybody chewing gum looks gross, so I'm not giving any to my kids if I can help it. The oldest is 3.5yrs and he'd totally swallow anyways.

(Confession: I chew gum, but only in the car and only if I need some mint and don't have any other mints or minty lip gloss.)

Gum is my potty training bribe -- I mean reward -- with my 3-year-olds. They love it and I figure it's better than Skittles or M&Ms. (Stickers don't cut it around here; nor does the satisfaction of being a big boy.)

My mom started giving my now-4 year old gum about a year ago, much to my aspartame-phobic dismay. He hasn't ever swallowed it, but ALWAYS pulls it out of his mouth and plays with it, getting it stuck on everything in the process. A few months ago she started giving my now-2 year old pieces so he wouldn't feel left out and he swallows it every time. Not cool either way.

I accidentally gave Evan a piece of gum at Halloween but have not wanted to repeat that even though he chewed it just fine. I would rather not open up what whole can or worms.

I did, back when I could find gum without aspartame, sucralose or other chemical sugar substitute.

I have to admit - I'm with the niece's father - I can't stand to see anyone chewing gum. And I just don't see the appeal. My DD7 has had it a few times (not from me!) and loves it, but DD4 has not. Plus she'd probably just swallow it.

I was waiting for the "and then she swallowed it".

I gave my son (a week away from being 3) a Razzle. Remember them? The marvelous candy that turns into gum? He didn't get the whole chewing WITHOUT swallowing bit so I only let him have five.

I was the bad aunt who gave my nieces gum before their mom's wanted them to have it. They never swallowed it (thank God - I never would have heard the end of it) b/c I had them spit it out after a few minutes of chomping and delcarations of "it doesn't taste on more." Soon enough your daughter will be a regular chomper. The next step, looking back at her in the car seat to find her passed out with the gum in her hair!

My 6-year-old loves it and asks for a piece everyday when I pick him up from school. My 4-year-old daughter won't touch it with a ten foot pole. She must be hip to the weird combination of substances.

What's wrong with gum?? It does a fabulous job of pulling little stuck in food particles off toddlers teeth. And they look so cute smacking on it too!

I gave it to them, and they didn't like it. But hey? Why not?

Yes. GREAT bribery for the grocery store, b/c the gum is at the end at the checkout.

My toddler initiated Mrs. Chicky's toddler to the wonder of gum at our last playdate. They both swallowed it within 2.6 seconds.

I let my three year old niece chew gum. But after 10 - 15 minutes I make her throw it out, so she doesn't swallow it....which she will if given the chance.

Toddler breath can be nasty, so I see nothing wrong with it.

I gave K gum at three. We were @ Home Depot, I grabbed a piece, and in a moment of weakness I split it with her. I think it was 'Extra.'

So, I said "Never ever ever swallow gum."

She chewed it for approximately 1 minute, said "All done, Mommy" and started to release it from her mouth right then & there. Probably not useful to Home Depot customers. Problem? I had not a single piece of paper to wrap up the gum with, and there wasn't a garbage can in sight.

I took a check out of my checkbook and wrapped it up in that.

Then we waited until she was older. Lesson learned.

I'm holding gum ransom until my 3 1/2 year old can figure out how to brush his teeth without swallowing the toothpaste.

So far no luck.

Kids LOVES them some gum.

My poor niece isn't allowed to have it b/c her father's crazy and he hates when ANYONE chews gum.

When she sees me pop a piece in, she's like, 'can I smell it?'

Dude. That's just so wrong. Poor kid.

Garrett is almost 3.5 and Bennett is 20 months, and both have had gum. And swallowed it....I figure it can't be any worse than when they put dirt in their mouths.

They don't get it very often, but they do get gum.

Yup. He's four and he's been chewing since last year. It beats candy due to the sugar thing... makes his breath smell nicer and sometimes shuts him up. And makes him ask for food less.

Typical conversation: "Mommy, can I have a piece of gum?" "Why?" "(whiny) Because my mouth's not minty!"

My four year old loves gum. I don't give it to her all the time, but occasionally she wears me down.

Shecky did at that age. Some days it was the only way to get him to hush long enough for me to have a coherent thought.

I recently also gave my 3 1/2 year old daughter gum. We went through the same routine (although in the car) and she was doing well. Then I looked back and she was not chewing. I asked her where the gum was and she said, "Did you say DO or DON'T swallow it?" I said, "DON'T." She giggled. I'm trying to avoid gum for a little while longer, but I certainly understand the temptation.

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