Orbitz. Trident. Juicy Fruit. We love our chewing gum here in America. But what if your orthodontist recommends braces to straighten your teeth? Can you chew gum with braces or must you abandon the habit until your orthodontic treatments end?

In the past, the answer was always a definitive “no.” But we won’t pop your bubble (pun intended) quite yet. Nowadays, we give our Gorman & Bunch Orthodontics patients a less emphatic “yes and no” reply. Read on to find out how to chew gum with braces, what gum you can chew with braces, and a few things to consider about gum and braces.

First, the Positives of Chewing Gum While in Braces

Today’s braces consist of more durable brackets and wires, which significantly reduce the risk of damage caused by chewing gum. And so we can now be more flexible in permitting our patients to chew gum with braces. But there’s a caveat: we encourage you to chew sugar-free gum with braces.

In fact, in some cases we not only permit chewing gum with braces, we encourage it. Recent studies on gum by the American Dental Association report that when you can’t brush your teeth after a meal, “chewing sugarless gum for 20 minutes can help prevent tooth decay.” The increased saliva caused by chewing gum:

  • Helps to expel acids produced by the bacteria in plaque that can lead to tooth decay and
  • Strengthens tooth enamel by delivering more calcium, phosphate, and fluoride to the mouth.

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Now, the Downsides to Chewing Gum While Wearing Braces

But not all gums work this way. When selecting the best types of gum for braces, we always discourage our patients from using any gums that contain sugar. Why? Because sugar stimulates the aforementioned bacteria-causing acid in your mouth, thereby negating the merits of increased saliva.

Additionally, because of its chemical makeup, sugary gum can be stickier than its sugarless counterpart. And this means it can more aggressively affix itself to metal appliances, getting wrapped up in wires and pulling elastic ties off brackets. And even if it doesn’t cause any physical damage to your braces, sugary gum can still lead to cavities by exposing your teeth to high levels of sugar for an extended time.

The Final Verdict on Gum and Braces

So, can you chew gum with braces? Yes. But before you do, the Gorman & Bunch Orthodontics team suggests that, while in braces, you only select sugarless gum, chew it in moderation, and always brush and floss around your wires and brackets after eating.

Be sure to check this list of sugarless chewing gums that meet ADA criteria to prevent cavities. And as always, we’ll be happy to answer any questions you may have about your braces and preferred gum.

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