How Chewing Gum Can Ease Discomfort From Braces

Girl with braces chewing gum

Once you get used to wearing braces, there shouldn’t be much pain or discomfort from them. While the first week of wearing braces may get uncomfortable, there are so many ways that patients new to wearing braces can find pain relief. Because of the gradual pressure placed along with the teeth due to the wires and brackets, the restricted blood flow within the gums can often lead to inflammation and tenderness throughout the gums and cheek linings. This pressure is considered normal, and your orthodontist will be able to provide you with the best techniques that work for you to give you the most relief possible.

However, one odd recommendation given to patients is sugarless chewing gum. It’s considered odd because chewing gum is one of the worst things you can place in your mouth if you have braces. Due to the sticky texture and ability to stick to the teeth, chewing gum can be difficult to clean from braces and even damage the brackets and wires. But some orthodontists have been recommending the sugarless variety for people new to braces as a new form of pain relief. Today, we’re going to be exploring what makes sugarless chewing gum the exception and other methods for finding relief from your new braces.

Why Recommend Sugarless Chewing Gum?

Chewing gum has always been known to be terrible for your teeth, especially if the brand contains excessive amounts of sugar that can get into the molars and stick along the enamel of your teeth. These large quantities of sugar can cause cavities and other dental problems. For those new to wearing braces, learning how to brush and floss your teeth while wearing braces and sticking to normal eating habits can be disastrous to your teeth overall, but sugarless chewing gum is considered the one exception.

Sugarless chewing gum can actually provide some benefits for those new to wearing braces. Although chewing gum has sticky qualities that make it difficult for cleaning and care for your new braces, sugarless chewing gum in smaller quantities can bring out numerous oral benefits during the first week of wearing them, such as:

  • Saliva Production: One major benefit provided by sugarless chewing gum helps increase saliva production, which assists the mouth in removing harmful bacteria from sticking to the enamel of your teeth. Alongside that, our saliva helps wash away food particles and helps provide the mouth with moisture, giving it a defense boost against cavities.
  • Xylitol Benefits: Most sugarless gum has xylitol in it, which is artificial sucrose that works to bind with the tooth’s enamel and provide extra benefits for our teeth. Some studies looking into the effects of xylitol found that it works just as well as fluoride and is often found in children’s toothpaste to help transition them to fluoride.
  • Pain Relief For Braces: Combining the effects of sugarless chewing gum with its benefits, this type of chewing gum helps stimulate blood flow to the gums and other areas of the mouth and helps reduce pain from wearing braces.

Hence why many orthodontists have been recommending sugarless chewing gum for many new patients! So, as long as you do it in moderation, chewing sugarless gum can be an excellent form of pain relief. But if you find yourself still suffering from braces pain during your first week of adjusting, then here are some tips we recommend for better pain relief:

  • Use Over-the-Counter Medications: using over-the-counter medications during the first week of wearing your braces can help reduce signs of inflammation throughout your mouth and reduce brace pain.
  • Ice Packs For Compression: For more immediate relief, placing ice packs along the areas of your face can help reduce pain sensations and reduce inflammation throughout the mouth.
  • Cold Water and Soft Foods: For pain and discomfort during eating and drinking, eating soft foods such as mashed potatoes and soup and drinking cold water can help reduce this tenderness and give your mouth more time to adjust to your new braces.
  • Orthodontic Wax: Orthodontic wax can even help protect the inside of your lips, cheeks, and gums and help create a barrier in between the brackets and gums to reduce irritation.

Most of all, following your orthodontist’s instructions and aftercare, you will be able to help take care of your mouth while healing and adjusting to your new set of braces. This pain and discomfort should only last for the first week, and if there are any signs of extreme discomfort, sharp pain, and other dental problems you may be concerned about, then it’s important to contact your orthodontist or dentist as soon as possible and seek out immediate treatment. Taking care of your teeth while wearing braces may be challenging, but the end results are absolutely worth the effort, so contact your dentist today to schedule an appointment.

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Dr. Chris Vinson and Dr. Kristie Vinson Tulsa Precision Dental creates beautiful smiles through modern dentistry, working through the latest restorative and cosmetic techniques to meet our patients' needs and their families in Tulsa, OK. Our practice, operated by Drs. Chris and Kristie Vinson, believes in using preventative care values to achieve the most out of people's dental care.
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