Once you start your orthodontic treatment, your orthodontist will usually tell you to avoid certain foods until the treatment is completed. If you have traditional braces, you’ll have to avoid foods like popcorn, caramels, toffees, and whole apples. Traditionally, orthodontists have said that patients should stay away from chewing gum when they have braces. However, there are some that say that chewing gum with braces is okay. So, who is right? Is it possible to enjoy gum when you have braces?
Why You Should Not Chew Gum with Braces
Gum is sticky, that’s about the gist of it. It’s this same stickiness that can see it being stuck to the wires and the brackets of your traditional braces. Gum stuck to your brackets can prove to be difficult to remove and may require an unplanned visit to your orthodontist in El Dorado Hills. Beyond the sticky factor, the gum could result in the bending of the wires. Even the smallest bends in the wires can result in your teeth moving the wrong way. Our Lyons Orthodontics team wants you to have the best orthodontic experience possible, so our professionals highly recommend avoiding gum if you have traditional braces. Otherwise, it can potentially add weeks to the duration of your treatment if your teeth move further from alignment.
Why Do Some Believe it’s Okay to Chew Gum with Braces?
We’ve all heard it, from friends or family members or from something posted on social media. “I’ve chewed gum with my braces and I was just fine.” Typically, they will be referring to having sugar-free gum. Sugar-free chewing gum is quite often free from the stickiness seen with the sugary varieties. This can help avoid bending of the wires and keep it from getting stuck in the brackets
There are also some benefits of sugar-free gum, including its ability to help you avoid cavities. This is because artificial sweeteners help reduce the bacteria that lead to cavities. In addition, the chewing of gum can help remove small food particles that are between your teeth if you’re not able to brush or floss after enjoying a meal.
Some also believe that chewing sugar-free gum after getting your braces placed or after adjustments can help to ease some of the discomforts you’re feeling. This can be particularly true when it comes to braces for teens who may feel a fair amount of discomfort after getting their braces.
So, What’s the Verdict About Gum and Braces?
Like we’ve stated above, gum and traditional braces just don’t mix! If you have additional questions about what you can or cannot have with braces, contact Lyons Orthodontics in El Dorado Hills! Once or twice won’t necessarily interfere with your treatment, but there is always the risk of damage to your braces. Dr. Kacos, one of the best dentists in Shreveport, LA, adds that braces are one of the most popular cosmetic dentistry options today, but they’re not for everyone. Invisalign is another great cosmetic dentistry option. Invisalign El Dorado Hills orthodontic patients will learn is a bit different. These aligner trays are removable, so you can enjoy a piece of gum once in a while. As it’s recommended that you keep the aligner trays in place as much as possible, you shouldn’t remove them too often to enjoy gum.
Alternatives to Chewing Gum with Braces
There are a number of other options that will give you the same benefits seen with chewing sugar-free gum. If you’ve been told that gum can help relieve discomfort, opt for over-the-counter pain relievers. They will help relieve both inflammation and discomfort. An ice pack can further help reduce any inflammation.
Staying hydrated will also help reduce the signs of inflammation and will also help wash away the bacteria that may otherwise result in cavities. Avoid chewing on ice, as this can damage both your teeth and your braces.
If you’ve been relying on gum to help keep your breath fresh, there are a number of alternatives. Coldwater with lemon or orange can help keep you hydrated while also freshening your breath. Sugar-free mints that don’t need to be chewed or are not overly sticky.
If you do wind up with gum stuck on your braces, don’t panic. Simply call up Lyons Orthodontics and we will schedule you in for an appointment. In the meantime, use your toothbrush to clean off as much of the gum as is possible. Use dental floss to loosen and remove any gum that might be stuck between your teeth.
Protecting your braces from the potential damage that gum and other sticky foods can do will help ensure you get the best results from your treatment. If you have any questions about your braces and what needs to be avoided, be sure to call the office to speak to an orthodontic professional.