When you unwrap a stick of gum, you may notice the smoothness with which it slides out of its wrapper and how it dusts your fingertips with white powder as you bring it to your mouth. What that powder actually is, varies by manufacturer.
Sugar or Sweetener
Wrigley, a major chewing gum manufacturer, reports that it coats its sugar-sweetened brands with a type of confectionery sugar. For their sugar-free gums, they use a sugar substitute.
Talc or Calcium Carbonate
Talc and calcium carbonate are first used to form chewing gum bases. After the gum is done, however, other manufacturers also use the substances to finish the product as white powder on the stick of gum's surface.
Manufacturers dust sticks of chewing gum with white powder -- whether a sweetener, talc, or calcium carbonate -- to absorb oils or any other substances. This ensures that the gum will not adhere to its paper wrapper. They also use these powders to keep their product fresh.