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Home / Blog / Braces / Can You Chew Gum With Braces?

Can You Chew Gum With Braces?

Medically reviewed by Dr Minoo Ghamari  / Apr 24, 2024  
Medically reviewed by Dr Minoo Ghamari  
Apr 24, 2024  
Can You Chew Gum With Braces?

Most people believe that you shouldn't chew gum with braces, and this is one of the main things orthodontists tell you to avoid when wearing traditional braces to prevent it from dislodging your elastics or wire. It's a common piece of advice given to kids, but how true is it? Should you really avoid chewing gum while wearing braces?

Today we're looking to answer this question to give you a definitive answer once and for all. So, let's get stuck in.

Can you chew gum with braces?

Chewing gum with braces is possible. However, just because you can do something, doesn't mean you should. Exposing your braces to too much sugar can damage your braces and make the glue more likely to weaken, which might make the brackets pop off the surface of your teeth.

So, when it's absolutely imperative that you have some gum to chew while wearing braces, make sure you choose a sugar free gum that has a soft texture. To avoid breaking your braces, it's a wise idea to break the piece of gum into smaller pieces so you can chew it mindfully and carefully. Avoid too much force as this can put too much pressure on your braces.

What does chewing gum do to your braces?

It's not advised that you chew gum while wearing braces, but why? What's so bad about chewing gum, and will you really see any adverse effects?

The answer is no, not necessarily. Some people enjoy gum without any issues, but there is an increased risk of certain issues when chewing gum. Modern braces are stronger than they used to be, so you might find that you don't see any of these increased risks. We've detailed a few of the effects chewing gum with braces can have below.

Chewing gum can cause pain and discomfort

There is a chance that gum can get caught between your teeth and braces, especially if your gum is particularly hard or chewy. This might cause you to bend your braces while trying to get it out, which can cause pain and discomfort. It might even create long-term issues that increase how long you need to wear your braces. Not to mention you'll need to book an emergency appointment with your orthodontist.

Chewing gum can cause tooth decay

Chewing gum that contains sugar can increase the risk of tooth decay as the sugar can get stuck around your braces. Some people fail to clean properly around the brackets, leaving the sugar on the teeth and increasing the likelihood of cavities. This can lead to even more pain, so make sure you're opting for sugarless gum with braces.

Chewing gum can increase saliva production

The effects of chewing sugarless gum with braces aren't all bad, as the increased saliva production can benefit you. Dry mouth is a major cause of tooth decay, so the increased amount of saliva can prevent tooth decay in an indirect way. It can also help with your digestion.

Important things to remember when chewing gum with braces

So, the choice of whether you want to enjoy gum with braces or not is up to you. If your answer is yes, then there are a few things you need to keep in mind. We've listed a few of the most important below:

  • Always opt for sugar free gum to prevent tooth decay

  • Consider breaking the chewing gum into smaller pieces to minimise pressure on your braces

  • Remove gum before eating to minimise damage and accidents

  • Look for soft gums without a hard shell to prevent putting too much pressure on your bite

  • Chew gently and slowly to err on the side of caution

  • Make sure you practice good oral hygiene through brushing and flossing after chewing gum

  • Consider using mouthwash or a breath spray instead as a safer alternative to chewing gum

How to take care of your braces properly?

When chewing sugarless gum with braces, it's essential that you take care of your braces and your teeth. Looking after your teeth can take more effort with braces, so we recommend using an orthodontic toothbrush and water pick to clean all around the brace brackets and wires.

Some people think that they can't floss with braces, but many manage to make it work after a few days of practice. Flossing is vital in maintaining good dental care, so try not to skip this step if you can!

You should also continue scheduling your orthodontic treatment appointments and keeping up to date with them. Your dentist will be able to tell you whether you're looking after your braces enough or what you need to improve on. This can help you continue your habits, such as chewing gum, without risking damage to your teeth and braces.

Weighing up the risks of chewing gum with braces

There are benefits and drawbacks of chewing gum when wearing braces, so it's important to have the full picture in front of you before weighing your options. We've detailed the pros and cons of chewing gum while wearing braces below:

The positives of chewing gum with braces

Modern braces tend to be made of more durable brackets and materials, so the risk of damaging them with chewing gum is sometimes lower. In fact, you might even find that your orthodontist recommends chewing sugar free gum! This is because a few studies showed that chewing sugarless gum for twenty minutes after meals can prevent tooth decay.

Increased saliva production can help expel acids produced by bacteria from plaque buildup that can lead to tooth decay. Increased saliva can also strengthen your tooth enamel by bringing more phosphate, calcium, and fluoride to your mouth.

The negatives of chewing gum with braces

However, not all types of gum work this way and some can do more harm than good for your braces. Sugary gum can stimulate the production of acid that holds bacteria from plaque, which cancels out the benefits of increasing your saliva output.

Gum that contains sugar is also stickier than sugar free varieties, which can put more pressure on your braces and increase the risk of them being pulled away from your teeth. Even if the sticky, sugary gum doesn't loosen your braces, it can increase the risk of you developing cavities by exposing your teeth to lots of sugar.

What happens if your braces come off?

Firstly, it's not always clear when your braces fall off because single brackets often come away from your teeth rather than altogether. If you find that one of your brackets has come loose from your tooth, don't panic. They can be reattached quickly by your orthodontist. You'll need to book an appointment as quickly as possible to prevent the loose bracket from causing an issue.

A delay in reattaching the bracket might cause further damage to your braces or set your treatment time back. Teeth have impressive memories and even a few days without the bracket attached might let them move back to their original places. Once the bracket is reattached the teeth will straighten again, but you might have to wait longer to complete treatment.

What are some of the best gums to chew with braces?

If you're looking for a 'safe' chewing gum to enjoy while wearing braces, there are a few types that outrank the rest. We don't necessarily recommend chewing gum with braces, but we've listed some of the softer options for you to consider below:

  • Orbit sugar free gum

  • Dentyne ice sugar free gum

  • Trident sugar free gum

  • Eclipse sugar free gum

These are all soft options for chewing gum and therefore can be broken into smaller pieces easier. They can also be gentler on your teeth, which lessens the likelihood of your braces breaking. Finally, they're all sugar free to protect you from dental decay and weakening of your orthodontic equipment.

Final thoughts

Overall, the decision of whether you can chew gum with braces or not is up to you. There are strong cases for giving it a miss, including a higher risk of broken braces and tooth decay. However, modern braces are stronger than they used to be, so the risk of braces breaking due to chewing gum might be lower (unless you're constantly eating gum).

There are even some benefits to it, including helping to clean the braces and improve saliva production. This can reduce tooth decay and improve digestion, so some orthodontists even recommend chewing gums after meals.

If you choose to chew gum with braces, make sure you choose a sugar free gum that has a soft texture to prevent it getting stuck in your braces. Chew gently if you can to prevent putting any excess strain on your braces, and always consult your orthodontist if you're concerned that your braces are coming loose.

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