Orthodontic treatment with braces is a commitment that involves careful attention to oral hygiene and a willingness to make certain dietary adjustments. That said, one of the most common questions that patients with braces ask is whether they can chew gum during their treatment. Chewing gum can be a harmless habit for most people, but when it comes to braces, there are specific concerns that need to be addressed.
Today, we will discuss the relationship between chewing gum and braces, the potential risks, and how to safely enjoy gum if you have braces:
Why Chewing Gum Can Be Problematic for Braces
There are many reasons chewing gum can be an issue for those wearing braces:
1. Damage to the Orthodontic Appliances
The primary concern with chewing gum while wearing braces is the potential for damage to orthodontic appliances. Gum can stick to the brackets and wires, causing them to bend, break, or loosen. This not only compromises the effectiveness of the braces but may also lead to additional costs for repair or replacement.
2. Prolonged Treatment Time
When braces are damaged or broken, they cannot properly apply the necessary pressure to shift your teeth into the desired position. As a result, your treatment time may be extended, delaying the moment when you can finally enjoy your new, straight smile.
3. Increased Risk of Cavities
Chewing gum, especially sugary varieties, can increase the risk of developing cavities. The sugar in gum can mix with the bacteria in your mouth, creating an acidic environment that erodes tooth enamel. Additionally, the sticky nature of gum can cause it to become lodged in the spaces between your teeth and braces, making it difficult to remove and leading to plaque buildup.
Alternatives to Traditional Chewing Gum
If you’re an avid gum chewer and can’t imagine giving it up entirely, there are some alternatives that may be safer for your braces:
1. Sugar-Free Gum
Opting for sugar-free gum can help minimize the risk of cavities. Look for gum that contains xylitol, a natural sweetener that has been shown to reduce the levels of cavity-causing bacteria in the mouth. However, even sugar-free gum can still pose a risk to your braces’ hardware, so chew with caution.
2. Orthodontic-Approved Gum
Some companies manufacture gum specifically designed for individuals with braces. These products are less sticky and less likely to cause damage to brackets and wires. However, it’s important to note that orthodontic-approved gum is not a guarantee against damage; it’s simply less risky than regular gum.
Tips for Chewing Gum with Braces
If you decide to chew gum while wearing braces, follow these tips to minimize potential problems:
1. Chew Gum Sparingly
Limiting the frequency and duration of gum-chewing sessions can help reduce the risk of damage to your braces.
2. Avoid Hard or Sticky Gum
Stick to softer, less sticky gums that are less likely to adhere to your braces.
3. Remove Gum before Brushing and Flossing
Don’t forget to take out your gum before you brush and floss your teeth. This will ensure that you can thoroughly clean your teeth and braces without interference from the gum.
4. Monitor Your Braces for Damage
Regularly check your braces for any signs of damage, such as loose or broken brackets and wires. If you notice any issues, contact your orthodontist as soon as possible.
5. Take Off Your Braces
If you have braces such as Invisalign, then you can easily just remove them before you chew. But remember, you need to be wearing them enough every day to ensure they work effectively. Also, don’t ever chew with them still on, as this can cause serious damage to your Invisalign.
While it’s not entirely impossible to chew gum with braces, it’s essential to understand the potential risks and take necessary precautions. By choosing safer gum options and following proper gum-chewing practices, you can minimize the risk of damage to your braces and ensure a smoother, more efficient orthodontic treatment. Always consult with your orthodontist for personalized advice on whether chewing gum is appropriate for your specific situation.
Comfort Dental of Framingham is a reliable family dentist located in Framingham, providing both family-oriented and cosmetic dental services. If you are looking for clear braces in Framingham, book an appointment with us today!