Chewing gum & Orthodontics –

In those orthodontic days of my portfolio career having been taught that it was wrong for patients with fixed appliances to chew gum I used to pass on dire warnings after “bonding up” a patient. “Avoid hard foods,” I would warn, “and chewy sweets and chewing gum.” This was just the start of the list.

I finally had fixed appliance treatment at the age of 50 to correct my Class II Div 2 malocclusion and I was glad that I did, if only to stop my bruxing and headaches. However I did not take my own advice because I found chewing sugar free gum, albeit with care, made my mouth feel cleaner and never caused any breakages.

So I was interested to read this piece via Marty Jablow’s site.

The effect of chewing gum on the impact, pain and breakages associated with fixed orthodontic appliances: a randomized clinical trial

Benson, P. E., Razi, R. M. and Al-Bloushi, R. J. (2012), The effect of chewing gum on the impact, pain and breakages associated with fixed orthodontic appliances: a randomized clinical trial. Orthodontics & Craniofacial Research. doi: 10.1111/j.1601-6343.2012.01546.x
Abstract
Objectives –  To determine whether the use of chewing gum reduced the impact and pain of fixed orthodontic appliances.
Setting and sample population –  The Orthodontic Department of the Charles Clifford Dental Hospital, Sheffield, UK. Fifty-seven patients aged 18 years or younger and who were about to start fixed orthodontic appliance treatment.
Subjects and Methods –  A randomized clinical trial with two parallel groups either allocated to receive chewing gum after placement of their appliance or who were asked not to chew gum. The patients completed a previously validated Impact of Fixed Appliances questionnaire at 24 h and 1 week following each visit up until the placement of the working archwire. A visual analogue scale (VAS) was used to assess the intensity of pain. Appliance breakages were recorded to the end of treatment.
Results –  The difference between the median Total Impact Score of the two groups at 24 h was 16, which was significant (p = 0.031; Mann–Whitney U-test). The difference between the median VAS between the two groups at 24 h was 25 mm, which was significant (p = 0.038; Mann–Whitney U-test). There were no differences at 1 week. None of the risk ratios for appliance breakages were significant.
Conclusion –  Chewing gum significantly decreased both the impact and pain from the fixed appliances. There was no evidence that chewing gum increased the incidence of appliance breakages.

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