Can You Chew Gum With Braces? Squashing Myths, Avoiding Sticky Situations, and Finding Alternatives

September 19, 2023

Loaded with a refreshing burst of flavor, chewing gum can be a great way to freshen your breath, relieve stress, or even satisfy a sweet tooth. But, can you chew gum with braces without damaging them? While traditional types of gum do pose a risk due to their stickiness, this doesn’t mean all gum is off-limits as a brace-wearer. Let’s dive into common myths surrounding gum chewing and braces, what type of gum to choose, and what alternatives you can use.

Debunking Myths: Can You Chew Gum With Braces?

1. Myth One: Chewing Gum Damages Braces. When we think chewing gum and braces, the immediate thought is “no,” because gum is sticky and has the potential to get stuck in the brackets, elastics, or wires. This can lead to wires becoming bent, elastics snapping, or gum getting stuck and being hard to remove, ultimately extending your treatment time. However, when one opts for sugar-free gum that is softer in texture, and chews mindfully, it can be safe to chew.

2. Myth Two: Chewing Gum Will Loosen Braces. Your braces are designed to withstand the pressures of chewing and biting, and a moderate amount of gum chewing should not cause any issues. It is when someone excessively or aggressively chews gum, where there’s potential for brackets or wires to become loose. The key here is to maintain a balanced approach, not overindulge, and chew softly and lightly.

3. Myth Three: Chewing Gum Causes Cavities. While this may be true for regular gum consumption, this isn’t necessarily true for sugar-free gum. Rather, sugar-free gum can help stimulate saliva production, which neutralizes acids and helps to wash away food particles that would otherwise contribute to cavity development.

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Avoiding Sticky Situations: Sugar-Free Gum Is The Way To Go

To avoid the sticky situation of having gum bend your wires, snap your elastics, or gum-up your brackets, pick up a sugar-free gum that has the American Dental Associations (ADA) seal of approval. Made with with sugar substitutes like xylitol, sorbitol, and mannitol, it won’t contribute to tooth decay (no enamel demineralization), and the consistency and texture will be softer and less tacky, helping you avoid gum and brace mishaps.

What If I Get Gum On My Braces? 3 Steps For Removal

If you do find yourself with stuck gum, do the following:

1. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush to gently brush away as much gum as possible. Avoid applying excessive force to prevent damage to the braces.

2. Apply a small bit of orthodontic wax to the gum. This will help prevent further stucking, and make it easier to remove.

3. Still stuck? Thread a toothpick or dental floss through it to dislodge it or move it into an easier to access space.

Once the gum has been removed, rinse your mouth with warm saline water or mouthwash to ensure that all remnants of the gum is gone. If you’re unable to get it all out, schedule an appointment with us, and we’ll help to safely remove the gum debris and assess your braces to make sure no long-lasting damage is done to them or your treatment plan.

Is Chewing Gum Bad For You? Finding Alternatives

No, chewing gum isn’t bad for you. It’s when it’s not done in moderation, chewed aggressively, or excessively where issues can pop up. However, if chewing sugar-free gum doesn’t sound appealing to you, there are alternative options for freshening your breath.

  • Infuse water with natural flavors like mint, lemon, or cucumber to add a refreshing twist to your hydration routine. This can provide a pleasant taste and fresh breath without the need for gum.
  • Sugar-free mints are another great alternative to gum. They can freshen your breath without the need for chewing. Keep a small tin of sugar-free mints with you for whenever you need a quick breath refresher.

Final Thoughts: Finding Balance

While you can chew gum with braces, the key here is to be mindful about the type of gum you choose, how long you chew it for, and how often you do it. Limit your gum chewing to short sessions, always opt for sugar-free gum, and non-sticky varieties. If you have any concerns or questions about chewing gum with braces or want to learn more about maintaining good oral health as a brace-wearer, give us a call at: (812) 333-1922 or write to us via our contact form.

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