Can I Chew Gum with Braces?
One of the most common questions orthodontic patients ask is “Can I still chew gum with braces?” While it is certainly best to avoid sticky, chewy, and hard foods, including chewing gum, you can safely chew gum while wearing braces if you take a few precautions. This article will explore both the challenges and benefits of chewing gum with braces.
Can I chew gum with braces?
In the past, the overall consensus from orthodontists was chewing gum was strictly prohibited while wearing braces. Gum is sticky and can get stuck in between your brackets and wires. Gum can even bend your wires if you aren’t careful, which will interfere with the length and effectiveness of your treatment. Bent wires are a serious problem, as they can cause your teeth to align in the wrong direction.
Another common problem with chewing gum while wearing braces is the interference of gum with bands. Gum can easily get wrapped around the rubber bands, which is a messy and sticky problem. Even worse, if you remove the rubber bands while chewing gum, it can prolong the length of time you have to wear braces.
Are there any benefits to chewing gum with braces?
While, in the past, gum was a big no-no for those wearing braces, orthodontists now recognize some of the benefits that chewing gum can have. Chewing gum can increase saliva production, which neutralizes and washes away plaque and food particles. A randomized controlled trial published in the American Journal of Orthodontics & Dentofacial Orthopedics found that chewing gum can also actually reduce the pain getting braces put on your teeth.
Can I chew gum with Invisalign?
Invisalign uses removable, clear aligners to straighten teeth. You must remove your aligners prior to eating or drinking. If you chew gum while wearing your aligners, the gum will likely get stuck on them. You can chew gum when your aligners are removed, but keep in mind that you should wear your aligners for approximately 20 hours a day. You do not want to remove your Invisalign aligners more often than your orthodontist recommends because it can delay progress and prolong treatment.
Is there a better type of gum to chew while wearing braces?
Whether you wear braces or not, it is best to avoid gum containing sugar. Gum with sugar can lead to tooth decay, cavities, and gum disease. The gum, just like food, can get caught in between your teeth and cause bacteria to grow.
What should I do if gum gets stuck in my braces?
If chewing gum gets stuck in your braces, use a soft toothbrush to brush off as much as possible. Do not use extra force or vigorous brushing, as you could break your brackets or wires. Next, use dental floss to ease out any remaining pieces of gum. Use a mouthwash or warm water to wash away the remaining particles.
Overall, while it is still best to avoid chewing gum while wearing braces and Invisalign, you can chew gum safely with a few precautions. If you do chew gum, stick to sugarless gum, and only chew for a few minutes after meals, and make sure to brush and floss your teeth afterwards. If you do get chewing gum stuck in your braces, let your orthodontist know. They can check for any misalignment of your wires and pieces of gum remaining in your brackets.
At Milnor Orthodontics, our experts are here to help you achieve a priceless smile. Call our office at (970) 230-3187 or visit milnororthodontics.com to learn more. We're located at 1103 S. Shields St. in Fort Collins, Colorado.