When you first read the title of this article, you probably thought, “Of course gum is vegan … it’s gum.” But believe it or not, people have somehow managed to incorporate animal parts into lots of random things—and gum, unfortunately, happens to be one of them.

What’s not vegan about some kinds of gum? Animal-derived ingredients, such as gelatin, stearic acid, and glycerin.

Gelatin

Gelatin is made by boiling animal skin, tendons, cartilage, ligaments, and/or bones. Yum. It usually comes from cows or pigs. Bet you didn’t think you were potentially nomming on cow bones the last time you refreshed your breath with a piece of gum, eh?

Gelatin is typically used as a binding agent—and it’s the reason why your “funniest” meat-eating friends (incorrectly) joke that they’re eating horse hooves whenever they eat Jell-O or marshmallows.

Stearic Acid

This is a substance that’s found in both plants and animals. When derived from animals, stearic acid comes from the fat of cows, pigs, sheep, dogs, and cats. It’s typically used as a thickening agent. 

Glycerin

Glycerin is found in plants and animal fat and is sometimes used to make things like gum, soaps, mouthwash, and more.

Luckily, some chewing gum brands are animal-free. Here are lists of some vegan and nonvegan ones, respectively:

Vegan Gum Brands ?

  • 5 Gum
  • B-Fresh Gum
  • Big League Chew
  • Eclipse
  • Extra: Some flavors are vegan. Double-check the ingredient list to make sure there’s no gelatin listed.
  • Juicy Fruit
  • Mentos Gum: Tropical flavor only.
  • NeuroGum Nootropic Energy Gum
  • Orbit: Some flavors are vegan. Double-check the ingredient list to make sure there’s no gelatin listed.
  • PUR Gum
  • Simply Gum
  • Spry Gum
  • Tree Hugger Gum

Gum Brands That Are Not Vegan ?

  • Extra: Flavors that contain ice crystals (which are covered with gelatin)
  • Ice Breakers Ice Cubes
  • Orbit: Flavors that contain gelatin
  • Stride
  • Trident

Next time you’re looking to get your mouth minty-fresh, make sure that there’s no gelatin in the gum you’re going to purchase and that the package states that any stearic acid or glycerin in the product is vegetable based. After all, your mouth can’t be clean or fresh if you’re chewing someone up inside it.