Sticky Orthodontic Problems: How to Get Chewing Gum Off Your Child's Braces

Posted on: 30 June 2018

Even though your children's orthodontist is likely to have told your child not to chew gum while wearing braces, your child may sneak a bit of gum every now and then. If your kid is unlucky, then gum may end up stuck to their braces or wires. This can be tricky, but not impossible, to clean off. After having a quick rant at your kid about chewing gum illicitly in the first place, try the following fixes:

  1. Tell your child to clean their teeth. While you want brushing to get off as much gum as possible, you don't want to damage any parts of the braces, so encourage them to do a normal brush, with a gentle emphasis on stuck gum areas, rather than an over-enthusiastic scrub.
  2. Look at your child's teeth to see if any gum is still stuck on brace posts or wires. If you can see some gum stuck between teeth, then regular dental floss may dislodge this. If gum is stuck to brace posts or wires, then you can try and pick it off with floss picks or a floss threader if you have one. Running a floss pick up the side of a post may get gum off this part of the braces. If your kid has gum stuck to a wire, then gently try to ease it off. Slow and gentle is the way to go here—it's important not to push brace wires out of position; otherwise, they may get damaged or may stop doing their job.
  3. If brushing and flossing has got most, but not all, of the gum off, then have your child brush again. An additional go with a toothbrush may help move off bits of gum that you've loosened but that are now just a bit stuck.

Hopefully, brushing and flossing will clean all the gum off your child's braces and you can release them back into the wild with a stern warning not to do this again. You should, however, contact your orthodontist to see if you need an appointment if you're left with the following problems:

  1. You can't get all the gum off. For example, you may not be able to access gum stuck on the back teeth; gum that has welded itself to brace wires may also be difficult to clean off completely without pushing the wires out of place. Remember that even a tiny bit of gum that's stuck between your child's braces and a tooth could cause some tooth decay if it isn't removed, especially if your kid was chewing regular rather than sugar-free gum.
  2. You think that the gum, or your clean-up efforts, have damaged a brace post, broken a wire or even just shifted a wire out of position.

Your orthodontist will be able to remove any residual gum and fix any problems with the braces. Hopefully, this experience will also convince your child not to chew gum again in the future.