Which bubble gum is gluten-free?

For people with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity, checking ingredient labels for gluten is a way of life. This includes something as innocuous as bubble gum. While we don’t typically think of chewing gum as a gluten-containing food, some brands actually do contain gluten.

What is Gluten?

Gluten is a general name for the proteins found in wheat, rye, barley and triticale. It acts as a “glue” that helps foods maintain their shape and texture. For most people, gluten poses no health problems. However, for those with celiac disease or non-celiac gluten sensitivity, gluten triggers an abnormal immune response that damages the small intestine. Even small amounts of gluten can cause issues for these individuals.

Why Check Bubble Gum for Gluten?

You may wonder why bubble gum would ever contain gluten in the first place. Bubble gum is chewed, not eaten, so you don’t actually swallow any of it. However, trace amounts of ingredients in chewing gum can be inadvertently ingested. Additionally, individuals with celiac disease and gluten sensitivity often have to avoid cross-contact with gluten. If gum contains gluten, it could transfer to the hands, dental work or other surfaces that may ultimately come in contact with the mouth and digestive tract. For these reasons, it’s important for those avoiding gluten to pay close attention to chewing gum ingredients.

What Ingredients Typically Contain Gluten?

Below are some of the most common ingredients found in chewing gum that contain gluten:

  • Wheat
  • Barley
  • Rye
  • Malt extract
  • Malt flavoring

Any chewing gum containing these ingredients is not gluten-free. Wheat is the most obvious one to avoid. However, barley, rye and malt-derived ingredients also contain gluten. If you see these on an ingredient list, steer clear of that chewing gum.

Hidden Sources of Gluten

In addition to obvious gluten grains, there are a few hidden sources of gluten to watch out for in chewing gum:

  • Starch – Some gum contains starch to achieve the right texture. The source needs to be specified, as the starch could come from wheat.
  • Natural and artificial flavor – These broad terms don’t reveal much. Manufacturers sometimes use barley or wheat derivatives to create natural and artificial flavors.
  • Dextrin – Dextrin is a carbohydrate extracted from starch. It may come from wheat, so the source needs confirmation.

If you see any of these vague ingredients, I recommend contacting the manufacturer to determine if the gum is gluten-free. Don’t just assume it’s safe.

List of Gluten-Free Bubble Gum Brands

Here is a table listing some popular brands of bubble gum that are gluten-free:

Brand Flavors
Bazooka Original, Sugar Free, Ring Pop
Big League Chew Various
Bubblicious Various fruity flavors
Chiclets Various fruit flavors
Double Bubble Original, assorted fruit flavors
Dubble Bubble Various flavors
Eclipse Spearmint, peppermint, winterfrost, cinnamon
Extra Various classic flavors
Freedent Various minty gums
Juicy Fruit Original, sugar free
Orbit Various fruity and minty flavors
Stride Various minty flavors
Trident Various fruity and minty flavors

This list contains many of the most popular bubble gum brands. According to their ingredients lists and information from the manufacturers, these gums do not contain any gluten-containing ingredients. However, always double check the label each time you purchase, as ingredients can change.

Some brands that are NOT gluten-free include Airheads, Carefree and Chupa Chups lollipops.

Sugar-Free and Dental Gums

Many popular sugar-free gums are also gluten-free, but it’s even more important to check labels. Sugar-free gums sometimes contain additional thickeners like dextrin that could be derived from wheat. Some specific gluten-free options include Extra Sugar Free, Orbit Sugar Free, Eclipse Sugar Free and Trident Sugarless.

Chewing gums that are designed to help clean teeth or strengthen enamel may also contain added thickeners. Again, check the ingredients rather than assuming they are gluten-free.

How to Check if Bubble Gum is Gluten-Free

When selecting a chewing gum product, here are some tips to make sure it’s gluten-free:

  • Read the entire ingredients list and make sure it doesn’t contain any gluten sources.
  • Beware of vague ingredients like “natural flavors” that could hide gluten.
  • Look for a “gluten-free” label on the packaging.
  • Check the manufacturer’s website which may identify gluten-free products.
  • Call or email the manufacturer if you’re unsure.

Also keep in mind that chewing gum flavors are seasonal and often change. Don’t assume a flavor you have had before is definitely gluten-free. Check every single time, even if it’s a brand you have bought many times, as ingredients can change at any time.

Best Practices When Chewing Gluten-Free Gum

Here are some other tips for safely enjoying gluten-free chewing gum if you are sensitive to gluten:

  • Avoid buying gum from bulk bins, as cross-contact is likely.
  • Check label for warnings such as “may contain wheat.”
  • Look for gum made in a dedicated gluten-free facility.
  • Avoid gums with oat fiber from unknown sources.
  • Do not share gluten-free gum with others who may have eaten gluten.
  • Watch out for gluten transfer from hands when removing gum from wrapper.

Being extra careful about cross-contact with gluten is especially important when a product is allowed to sit in your mouth for an extended period.

Making Your Own Gluten-Free Bubble Gum

If you want 100% control over what goes into your bubble gum, you can also make your own at home. There are a few different recipes online using basic ingredients like sugar, flavor extracts, corn syrup and gelatin.

Here is one basic gluten-free recipe to try:


  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons gelatin
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Food coloring, optional


  1. In a small saucepan, mix the sugar, corn syrup and salt. Heat over medium, stirring frequently, until sugar dissolves. Bring to a boil.
  2. Remove from heat. Stir in the gelatin until fully dissolved.
  3. Add vanilla and food coloring if desired. Pour into a glass dish coated with cooking spray.
  4. Let cool completely until firm, then remove from dish and knead until pliable.
  5. Wrap in plastic wrap or wax paper until ready to enjoy.

The nice thing about homemade gum is you get to control the sweetness level and flavors. Feel free to experiment with fruit juices, almond extract, honey, etc.

Types of Chewing Gum to Avoid

While many basic chewing gums are gluten-free, there are certain types that are more likely to contain gluten. Use caution with:

  • Medicated gums – Higher likelihood of fillers and binders with gluten.
  • Gourmet gum – Often contains wheat flour for a more doughy texture.
  • Candy-coated gums – The exterior coating may have gluten.
  • Gum with fillings – The liquid or paste fillings could contain gluten.

Your best bet is to stick with traditional chewing gum bases like the brands listed earlier. Avoid more complex gum products.

Should Gum Have an Age Limit Like Tobacco?

Many public health experts argue that the minimum age to purchase chewing gum should be increased to at least 18 or 21 years old. Just like cigarettes, chewing gum poses risks including:

  • – Dental problems like increased cavities
  • – Choking hazards
  • – Swallowing plastic gum base that can’t be digested
  • – Contribution to litter and environmental pollution

Given these concerns, you could argue that chewing gum should have the same age restrictions as purchasing tobacco products.

Counter Arguments

However, there are some counterpoints in favor of keeping chewing gum available to all ages:

  • – Chewing gum is not addictive like nicotine.
  • – Dental harm is preventable with proper oral hygiene.
  • – Choking risk is very low, especially with appropriate supervision for young children.
  • – Some sugar-free gums may benefit dental health.

Overall the risks of moderate gum chewing, especially after a certain age, are pretty minimal. There are also potential benefits like increased saliva production and plaque reduction. So banning gum sales entirely to people under 18 or 21 seems excessive.

A Reasonable Compromise

Perhaps a reasonable compromise would be:

  • – Increase the minimum purchase age to 13 years old.
  • – Add larger warning labels about choking hazards to gum packaging.
  • – Limit gum advertising and flavored options that appeal to very young children.
  • – Educate parents/caregivers on supervising gum chewing.

A nuanced approach like this acknowledges benefits and risks, while preventing regular gum chewing by very young children. It’s a moderate solution that doesn’t equate chewing gum to much more hazardous products like tobacco and alcohol. But it does set some common sense restrictions.


While we don’t usually think of chewing gum as a potential source of gluten, some brands actually do contain problematic ingredients. Reading labels carefully and knowing which brands to look for is key for gluten-free gum chewing. With so many flavors and formulations, it’s always important to double check that what you’re chewing is gluten-free.

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