Most braces wearers are told by their orthodontists to avoid sticky foods and candy — including gum — but this can be a hard habit to quit when others are giving you contradictory information. You probably know at least one person who says that he chewed gum for the duration for his orthodontic treatment and nothing bad happened. There was also a British study in 2012 that suggested that gum chewing may alleviate pain caused by braces. All of this may be true, but gum chewing can still damage your braces. 

What kind of damage can gum cause?

You may not realize it, but chewing gum puts a significant amount of unnecessary pressure on your teeth. Your orthodontic braces need to be able to do their job without interference. When you chew gum, it can bend the wires between brackets. Teeth move in the direction that the wires are bent, so your orthodontist will have to fix this issue at every appointment. This can significantly prolong your treatment and cause additional discomfort. 

What about that British study?

There are other ways to deal with pain caused by braces instead of chewing gum. Your orthodontist will most likely be okay with you taking an over-the-counter pain reliever. If you are in severe pain, make an emergency appointment with your orthodontist so that he or she can figure out the underlying cause. 

Can I chew sugar-free gum?

No. With or without sugar, the act of chewing gum can still damage your orthodontic appliances.

If you follow your orthodontist's instructions for eating and keeping your teeth clean, your braces will be off and you'll be chewing gum sooner than you thought. If you have questions about braces treatment, contact a New York City Orthodontist today!

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