La Habra/Chino Hills, CA – Adjusting to life with braces can take a bit of time. Not only are you getting used to having a bunch of brackets and wires in your mouth, you also have to adjust your diet. Staying away from foods that are too hard, sticky, chewy, or crunchy is important to avoid damage to your brackets and wires. But does that mean you can’t chew gum the entire time you’re in braces? That is a common question many patients with braces ask.
Dr. Robert Gire of Gire Orthodontics has some good news for you. You can chew gum while wearing braces—but there are some important things to consider before you do.
The Risks of Chewing Gum with Braces
Chewing gum is not ideal for patients with braces because it can cause the wires and brackets to come loose, especially early in treatment when the wires are very thin and small. Additionally, the sugar in gum can also cause problems with plaque buildup and tooth decay.
Dr. Gire will usually give the green light for gum chewing after a few months into treatment. Once the patient is in a larger wire, they can withstand the repetitious chewing forces that encompasses gum chewing. Additionally, chewing gum later in treatment helps “settle” the teeth into their new positions.
Optimal Gum Choices for Braces
Once Dr. Gire gives you the OK to chew gum, the type of gum is of utmost importance! Sugar-free gum is less likely to cause damage to your braces and teeth. Additionally, sugar-free gum can help clean your teeth and freshen your breath.
The American Dental Association has recommended the following brands of gum that are safe for patients in braces. They are:
- 5 Sugar Free Gum
- Bazooka Sugar Free Bubble Gum (Original and Blue Razz)
- Dentyne Ice Sugarless Gum
- Eclipse Sugarfree Gum
- Extra Sugarfree Gum
- Ice Breakers Ice Cubes
- Orbit Sugarfree gum
- Trident Sugarfree gum
Some recent studies by the ADA also suggest that chewing sugarless gum after a meal when you can’t brush right away may be beneficial to your smile. That’s because sugarless gum can increase your saliva production, which in turn can:
- Help rid your mouth of acids produced by bacteria in plaque
- Strengthen tooth enamel
Additional Chewing Tips and Oral Hygiene Practices
In addition to ensuring you chew only ADA approved gum, Dr. Gire has some other tips. When chewing gum, be sure to take small bites and chew slowly. Don’t chew gum for too long, as this can cause the wires to come loose. Additionally, be sure to brush and floss regularly to keep your braces clean and in good condition.
Although you can chew gum with braces later in treatment, it’s best to avoid chewing it for extended periods of time. If you must have a piece of gum, be sure to choose sugar-free varieties and chew slowly and carefully. With proper care, you can keep your braces in good condition and avoid any damage to your teeth.