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TODAY   |  April 08, 2014

Gum sales down: Has the bubble burst?

One expert says that three years ago, 16 percent of the U.S. population was consuming gum daily. Now, it’s only 13 percent, which may be due to simply too much choices among sweets. NBC’s Kevin Tibbles reports.

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>> more of a tic tac person.

>> apparently, tough time for gum. sales are done. but as kevin tibbles discovered, not everyone is letting that stop them from chewing.

>> reporter: in the land of the chew, has the bubble burst? for more than 150 years, americans have been chomping on gum that comes in all shapes, sizes, and flavors. so much so, it's a part of pop culture . double your fun with double-mint gum

>> reporter: we've even got chewers in chief. but these days, sales of the sticky stuff are stuck.

>> giet rid of your gum.

>> three years ago it was 16%, now it's 13%. i've lost three points, and in the food world, that's a big number.

>> reporter: to investigate, we went all willy wonka . happy hour at chicago's candyality, where a kid's sweet tooth runs wild. and that may be the problem. too much choice.

>> we see a lot of gummy bears , and swedish fish are a good mainstay here. lots of chocolate. chocolate is really big.

>> reporter: but dentist grace yum -- yes, that is her real name -- actually recommends sugarless to keep teeth clean.

>> and i tell all my patients, a few sticks a day will keep me away. keep the dentist away.

>> reporter: back at candyality, not a lick of evidence gum is gone.

>> i don't like it, i love it.

>> reporter: you like gum more than chocolate?

>> yeah.

>> reporter: you like gum more than apples?

>> probably.

>> oh, my.

>> reporter: which brings us to 5-year-old serious sophie. so, how come you're not chewing any gum?

>> because i gave it up for lent.

>> reporter: one in the bunch was out of practice.

>> you feel like a kid again.

>> reporter: sales may be sluggish, but try telling that to these bubble blowing aficionados. for today, kevin don't-burst-my-bubble tibbles.

>> what's your favorite gum?

>> the bazuka gum. get that comic.

>> bubbleyum back in the day.