Does age have an effect on how long the flavour of chewing gum lasts?


One of my very first posts was an experiment hypothesis I came up with, to do with the colour of clothes one wears, and how it effects mood. I don’t do science anymore, since I have a B in GCSE Science, that’s as far as I am going with it! But I do have one more experiment idea.

I got the idea from chewing a piece of gum when I was going to college. As we know, the flavour of gum goes after you’ve chewed it for a while. I was thinking ‘I wonder how long the flavour lasts until it completely disappears‘. This then expanded into ‘I wonder what happens when you get older, does the flavour go more quickly?

My Hypothesis is simple: As you get older, the flavour of chewing gum fades quicker than when you were a kid’

Experiment Planning

Doing research, I have found out that: Like all the other cells in the body, those special sensory cells that make up the taste buds eventually wear out. As we age, the taste buds begin to disappear from the sides and roof of the mouth, leaving taste buds mostly on our tongue. The remaining taste buds eventually become less sensitive. Smoking and eating scalding liquids can damage them further. Our sense of smell also decreases as we get older, and smell and taste are intimately linked.

Therefore, your taste buds get weaker and the flavour of gum disappears quicker. To do this experiment you would need the following things:

  • A couple of packs of chewing gum (the same flavour)
  • A few stopwatches
  • A notebook and pen
  • Volunteers of various ages (a boy and a girl for each age group tested)

All the person has to do is simple: they start the stopwatch as they chew the gum. They stop it when they think the flavour is gone. We do this with the same person 3 times, and calculate a mean. When we’ve tested everyone, the results will be put into two separate tables, one for boys and one for girls. To make the experiment fair, each age group will go up in 5 years (10 year old, 15 year old, 20 year old etc.), and there will be a boy and a girl in each in each age group, to eliminate anomalies to do with genders. Also, it will be made that the test subjects are all non smokers, to avoid the risk of anomalies

There is one real risk to this experiment. Choking. To eliminate children choking, the youngest test group is ten year olds, to make sure that no child chokes on gum.

If you want to do this experiment yourself, by all means, just ask me and give me credit when you do it. Thank you!

About the author


Since 2012, Benjamin Attwood has written for the If you Ask Ben blog.

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