Can you chew gum with braces?
There are so many do’s and don’ts which come with wearing braces. One of the things that tip people off regarding wearing braces is the change they would have to make in what they eat. Your orthodontist may have told you that braces and chewing gum are not a good mix, however, some orthodontists say it is fine to chew gum occasionally, even with braces.
Not to dispute your orthodontist’s instructions, so before you decide to chew gum with braces, ask your orthodontist if it is safe.
Materials used in making braces differ among the different types of braces that exists. For some braces, their wires may be more flexible than others and less likely to bend or become broken from chewing gum. So your orthodontist had probably recommended against chewing gum with braces because your braces are not made with flexible wires.
Can You Chew Gum With Braces
Yes, but you will have to be careful and make sure you are chewing the right type of gum for someone wearing braces. Read on to learn the pros and cons of chewing gum with braces and what type of gums are recommended if you are wearing braces.
What Happens When You Chew Gum With Braces
In the past, a definite “no” would be given when a dentist or orthodontist is asked the question -can you chew gum with braces? But these days, a less emphatic “yes” and “no” reply is given. You want to know why?
Firstly, the pros to chewing gum generally can be applied to chewing gum with braces too. That is, the benefits from increased saliva produced while chewing gum, which are;
1. Helps to eliminate the acid produced by bacteria in plaque that could lead to tooth decay.
2. Helps to deliver more calcium, phosphate, and fluoride to the mouth, so doing, strengthens the tooth enamel.
3. A small 2012 and 2016 study showed that chewing gum with braces may help reduce the impact and pain that comes with getting braces put on teeth.
4. In theory, chewing gum while you have braces on could help increase blood flow in your gums, which cuts down the chances of being at risk of inflammation.
5. Recent studies by the American Dental Association (ADA) encourage chewing gum with braces when you can’t brush your teeth after a meal, however, this should not replace the normal brushing of your teeth.
Why You Shouldn’t Chew Gum With Braces
Like your orthodontist probably told you, gum and braces do not mix well. This is because it can lead to an unplanned visit to the dentist.
Just as we have said earlier, your braces may not have flexible wires, so when you chew gum with your braces on, the stickiness of the gum can get stuck in your brackets and wires. Removing the stickiness could be very challenging and in the process, you may bend your wires or break your brackets.
Now even the lighter bend in the wires of your braces may require a trip back to your dentist because it could cause your teeth to begin to move out of place. This could result in added weeks to your treatment time, which means more money and it could be frustrating.
So stay clear from chewing gum when you have your braces on, especially if your dentist or orthodontist recommends that you don’t chew gum with braces.
What To Do If Your Gum Gets Stuck In Your Braces
The best way to protect your teeth from further damage is to protect your braces and since your braces are likely to get broken if you chew gum while wearing them, the best way to protect your braces from damage caused by chewing gum is simply to not chew gum at all.
But if it is the cause of chewing gum, it gets stuck in your braces what do you do?
Although removing stuck from braces could be tricky, here are a few tips that could help:
1. Gently use a soft toothbrush to brush off as much of the gum as possible. You have to do this with extra care and without force because even the slightest force can damage the wires and brackets of your braces.
2. To loosen and remove any gum remaining after you’ve brushed, use dental floss and carefully lift off the gum.
3. Gently brush your teeth again after using the floss and rinse off vigorously with warm salt water or mouthwash.
Whether or not you were able to remove the gum from your braces, don’t keep this away from your orthodontist. Let your orthodontist know. If the gum does not come off completely, professional cleaning by your orthodontist will help remove the gum without damaging your braces. And even if the gum comes off completely, after following these steps, it will be good to know for sure that no damage was done to your braces while you were trying to remove the stuck gum.
Does Chewing Gum Speed Up Braces
Some people claim that chewing gum with braces helps their teeth to move faster into place. The chances of this happening are very slim, however, this claim is based on the idea that the movement of the mouth when you are chewing gum creates pressure on the teeth, and then the pressure is released. The continuous movement of the mouth and the release of pressure is believed to help manipulate the teeth into place.
Also, the 2012/2016 study on the impact of chewing gum with braces may have suggested that it helps to speed up the process.
Can You Chew Gum With Braces If It Is Sugar-Free
You have read that you can chew gum with braces, and some benefits of doing so, but you must know that it isn’t all types of gum that you are allowed to chew with your braces on.
You are allowed to only chew gum with braces on if they are sugar-free and they must be on the list of ADA-approved sugar-free gums.
The artificial sweetness in sugar-free gums is what gives them the ability to increase saliva production that can help prevent cavities and tooth decay.
Also, the sugar-free gums are non-sticky gums so they are less likely to break or bend the wires or get stuck in the brackets of your braces. ADA-approved sugar-free gums are;
- Dentyne ice
- Ice breakers
What You Should Not Eat With Braces
You can go back to eating whatever you want after you’ve had your braces removed, but while you are on braces, try as much as you can to avoid the following foods;
- Chewy foods e.g bagels
- Crunchy foods e.g popcorn and ice
- Sticky foods e.g candies and non-ADA approved gums
- Hard foods e.g nuts
- Foods that require hitting into e.g apples and carrots
What Can I Eat With Braces
While on braces, not all the fun foods are taken from you. You could eat any of these foods while on braces;
- Dairy foods
- Ice cream
- Mashed potatoes
- Soft cooked rice
- Fruit juice
For a better understanding of what to eat and what not to eat when you are wearing braces, talk to your dentist or orthodontist.
Alternatives To Chewing Gum With Braces
Before we begin suggesting alternatives to chewing gum with braces, let’s compile the list of reasons why people chew gum with braces in the first place.
- To help relieve pain after the braces have been put on.
- To help fight against cavity development and tooth decay.
- To help improve breath.
Ok, let’s look at the alternatives;
1. You chew gum after you have just gotten your braces to help you relieve pain when you could use ice packs or some over-the-counter pain relieves such as Tylenol and Ibuprofen instead.
These pain relievers last long enough to mask any pain you may feel after you have had your braces fixed.
2. Or do you chew gum with braces because it can help fight against cavity and tooth decay? Why risk it if you can get the same benefit from maintaining proper oral hygiene.
Brushing and flossing at least twice daily, and using appropriate toothpaste can also help fight against cavity and tooth decay.
3. Maybe you rely on gums to keep your breath fresh. For this, you have several alternatives. You could drink water with some lemon or oranges to help freshen your breath.
Staying hydrated prevents dry mouth and dry mouth could be the reason you need to keep your breath fresh in the first place.
You could also put a mint sweet in your mouth and leave it till it dissolves, but you need to be careful that you do not chew on it. You may need to brush after taking the mint sweet, especially if it had a lot of extra sugar. Another way to help freshen your breath without chewing gum with braces is to use mouthwash.
4. Lastly, you may have made chewing gum a habit. It could be difficult to stop when you start wearing braces. Many people see chewing gum as a means to stay focused and occupied. If you have decided to take a safe route and quit chewing gum, you could decide instead to suck on sugar-free candies, but just like the mint sweet, make sure you don’t bite down on the candy.
Can You Eat Pizza With Braces
Yeah, you can eat pizza with braces, however, it depends on what type of pizza. You need to consider the type of crusting and toppings of the pizza.
Best to go for soft-crust pizzas with small pieces of toppings. Tougher or thinner crusts can get stuck between the wires or brackets of your braces, which could damage them.
You are worried the cheese in the pizza may stick on your braces? Don’t worry, it’s not as sticky as your chewing gum, just make sure to floss afterward.
Can you chew gum with braces? Yes, so long as you get your orthodontist recommendation, they are non-sticky sugar-free, and approved by ADA. This is to ensure that your braces are protected, because when gum gets stuck in braces, removing it can be tricky and in the process, you could break the wires or brackets of your braces, leading to a prolonged treatment time.
Also, talk with your dentist or orthodontist about the dos and don’ts of wearing braces.