By Lynne Adkins

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — If you’re having anesthesia, you’re not supposed to eat or drink for several hours beforehand. But does chewing gum count?

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Dr. Basavana Goudra, anesthesiologist at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania says not everyone obeys when they’re told to eat and drink nothing before a procedure.

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“Some of the patients ended up getting delayed or sometimes even sent home because they had gum in the mouth or had just spit one,” he said. “We decided to go ahead and study to see whether chewing gum causes any danger to the patients.”

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He says it was discovered the gum did increase the volume of saliva and stomach fluids, but didn’t pose any danger to the patient receiving anesthesia.

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