Chewing Gum With Braces: The Sticky Truth Unveiled
“Can I chew gum with braces?” If you are wearing braces right now but love to chew gum, then this question must have crossed your mind a million times. Orthodontists have long believed and recommended that chewing gum with braces is a complete no-no.
But, with the evolution in gum and brace materials, orthodontists have now eased the restrictions. Sugar-free gum doesn’t cause severe harm to your braces and help improve bites as well.
This blog will help you understand the risks of chewing gum and how sugar-free gum can help you escape them. Also, you will get a comprehensive view of why orthodontists are recommending them and some tips for chewing gum with braces.
Let’s dive in!
- 1 Can You Chew Gum With Braces?
- 2 Potential Risks Of Chewing Gum With Braces
- 3 Evolution Of Gum Formulations
- 4 What Are Sugar-Free Gum For Braces?
- 5 Benefits Of Chewing Sugar-Free Gum With Braces
- 6 Orthodontist’s Recommendation Of Chewing Sugar-Free Gum With Braces
- 7 Chewing Sugar-Free Gums Is Good For Teeth
- 8 Tips For Chewing Gum Safely With Braces
- 9 Alternative To Chewing Gum With Braces
- 10 Conclusion
Can You Chew Gum With Braces?
There are both affirmative and negative answers to this. Let’s start with the positive aspects of chewing gum with braces.
- It can ease discomfort if you have pain in your jaws and ligaments.
- Chewing gum helps increase saliva production and prevents the build up of cavities and plaque.
However, in most cases, gum and braces don’t get along very well. There are higher chances of chewing gum sticking inside the metal hardware. It can even damage brackets and pull wires from their proper positioins.
Potential Risks Of Chewing Gum With Braces
There are various reasons why chewing gum is often a big no if you are wearing braces. Not only does it lead to unplanned and prolonged braces treatment, but it also harms the shape of your braces.
Remember that gum is sticky. So when you chew them with braces on, it often get stuck in your wires and brackets, which is very tricky to remove.
Also, any bending in the wires can result in movement in your teeth. So it’s crucial to visit orthodontists regularly. The movements may look trivial and may not be noticeable to untrained eyes. But, your orthodontist will detect them early and give the necessary treatment.
Evolution Of Gum Formulations
Basically, chewing gum can bestow myriad benefits when you are wearing braces. But because it contains sugar, it leads to plaque buildup and decay. This side effect for sugar-laced gum is not only applicable to braces but also to regular teeth.
So to escape the harms of sugar but leverage benefits, gum manufacturers have evolved their formulations over time. And they introduced sugar-free options.
What Are Sugar-Free Gum For Braces?
Instead of overloading gum with sugar, sugar-free gum includes sugar alcohols and natural sweeteners like xylitol. They contain less than half the calories of sugar and are even suitable for diabetic patients. While xylitol can easily be absorbed by bacteria, unlike sugar, it will use energy to eliminate the sweetener instead of reproducing. This prevents xylitol from sticking to your teeth.
Benefits Of Chewing Sugar-Free Gum With Braces
Chewing on sugar-free gums helps stimulate saliva flow while giving elevated flavors. It also helps wash away plaque. Here are two major benefits of chewing sugar-free gum with braces.
Prevent cavities: As mentioned above, oral bacteria don’t metabolize xylitol. Sugar-triggered oral bacteria are unable to reproduce without a food source when the gum doesn’t have sugar. Fewer bacteria mean fewer enamel-harming acids on your teeth. So your braces and teeth both are far from decaying.
Reduce discomforts: Chewing sugar-free gum reduces pain from tightening. But you don’t have to deal with decaying due to sugar. Chewing more helps increase blood flow to gums, thereby reducing inflammation.
Orthodontist’s Recommendation Of Chewing Sugar-Free Gum With Braces
Do you know that even the American Dental Association (ADA) approves sugar-free gum for braces? However, those chewing gums must have xylitol, aspartame, sorbitol, and mannitol. These sweeteners do not cause any harm or decay of teeth. Interestingly, you will find many chewing gums for braces bearing ADA approval stamps. It’s proof that they align with all dental requirements.
There are various types of sugar-free chewing gum. Dentyne Ice Sugarless, Wrigley’s 5 Sugar-Free, Wrigley’s Orbit Sugar-Free, Trident Sugarless, Wrigley’s Extra Sugar-Free
Wrigley’s Orbit for Kids Sugar-Free, etc., are some of them
Chewing Sugar-Free Gums Is Good For Teeth
Chewing sugar-free gums, but in control, can offer temporary benefits. It helps strengthen teeth’s roots that are under stress. Orthodontists recommend chewing a little piece of gum if you experience discomfort. And then spit it out when you feel the pain recede.
Tips For Chewing Gum Safely With Braces
Whether sugar-induced chewing gum for braces or sugar-free, you may often find those gum pieces stuck in your braces. So, brush your teeth gently with lukewarm water. The heat will break through the bonds of the chewing gum and make it easier to clean. However, be sure to scrub harder and avoid harming your brackets. Additionally, orthodontists recommend chewing sugar-free gum for 20 minutes after having meals. This will help avoid tooth decay from food debris or sweet drinks.
Alternative To Chewing Gum With Braces
You can avoid chewing gum and adopt non-gum-healthy oral habits for your braces. Go for relievers like NSAIDS, Tylenol, ibuprofen, etc., as it eases the pain from tightening and adjustments.
Additionally, if you are consuming gum for inflammation, then consider applying ice packs instead. It will hydrate the roots and wash down harmful bacteria. Also, drink plenty of ice water to ensure you are not chewing any ice accidentally and ruining the braces settings.
Thirdly, are you chewing gum for a fresh breath? Then resort to drinking water with lemons or other citrus fruits. It will rinse, hydrate and freshen your mouth.
Hope this blog has helped you understand the scope of challenges of chewing gum with braces, the alternative and its benefits, and what orthodontists think about resorting to sugar-free chewing gum.
Now the multi-million dollar question is: “Can you chew gum with braces?” The bottom line is Yes. You can as long as it is not causing tooth decay or ruining your brackets and wires. So, if you are addicted to gum, the best option is to resort to sugar-free options. It will help you leverage the benefits of chewing while staying away from tooth decay.
However, before you choose any sugar-free chewing gum for your braces, don’t forget to consult your orthodontist. Based on the tooth type and braces you are wearing, they will suggest the type of gum that will best suit your needs.
Chewing Gum With Braces: The Sticky Truth Unveiled
Dr. Bill Redmond is a native of Southern California, the son of an orthodontist and the husband of a general dentist. That makes family gatherings pretty interesting…if you like teeth!