Can I chew gum with my braces?

Jan 21

When I first meet a family, I like to go over the roles that we all play during the course of treatment.  

Our role is obviously to get the teeth straight and correct the bite.  The parents know their role .. pay the bills and get their children (or themselves) to the appointments (their first question during the consult is always .. How much is this going to cost!) 

The role of the patient in the process is one, to keep the teeth clean (most important!), and two,  try their best to avoid broken brackets and wires.

What tends to be the culprit for broken brackets and wires is hard and sticky food.  So when we go over these roles and discuss potential bracket-breaking foods, the question from the patient is always .. "Does this mean that I can't chew gum?!?!?"

If the gum that is being chewed has a hard candy-coated shell than the answer is no.  Please avoid these foods (and of course limit consumption of candies in general during treatment).

If the gum is more like the typical soft sticks, then chewing gum is usually acceptable and during the beginning of treatment can sometimes be beneficial.

Beneficial?  Yup.

When braces are first put on, pressure is applied to the tooth, but of course the teeth are not moving.  However, the teeth are surrounded by a ligament (periodontal ligament) .. essentially a little shock absorber for your teeth.  This becomes compressed and this is when we start to feel achy teeth.  

Depending on the crowding of your teeth, different teeth at different times can feel more or less sore.  This discomfort (dull ache) usually lasts 2-3 days (longer in adult patients).

This is where chewing gum can help.  The act of chewing applies pressure to the teeth and with this can move the teeth within the peridontal ligament.  This can relieve pressure that is being applied by the braces.  

Like any rememdy, it's not perfect for all patients.  

We do suggest Advil or Tylenol should you feel sore during the first few days following the placement of your braces.  However, if this just doesn't seem to cut it, try a few sticks of gum!



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