Your braces can affect a lot of things inside your mouth. Not only are they working to slowly shift your teeth into a preferable position, but they can also cause swelling in your gums! This is fairly common in patients with braces, and although it’s usually temporary it can also sometimes be permanent. In any case, it can be treated! Here are some reasons for why having braces might cause your gums to swell, along with some things you can do about it.
Why Do Braces Cause Swollen Gums?
A patient’s gums are usually expected to swell right after receiving braces or having them adjusted, but why does this happen? There are a few primary causes:
- Poor oral hygiene – Food and dental plaque can easily stick to your braces, causing bacteria to grow and induce inflammation.
- Underlying health conditions – Patients with conditions like diabetes or obesity are more susceptible to inflamed gums.
- Response to tooth movement – The steady pressure applied by braces to move your teeth can cause gum discomfort.
- Gum disease – Poor oral hygiene and plaque buildup can also lead to conditions like gingivitis and gingival hyperplasia, the overgrowth of gum tissue around the teeth.
How Can Swollen Gums Be Treated?
Swollen gums are usually a bodily reaction in response to the changes being made inside of your mouth, so giving your mouth a few days to adapt to the brackets and wires can help. Practicing better oral hygiene can also lend a hand to your irritated gums. You may need to brush or floss more often, or even adjust your brushing techniques to effectively keep your mouth and braces clean. There are also special flossers and mouthwashes that can keep plaque and food particles from gathering—even rinsing with warm salt water a few times a day can make an immense difference.
Taking over-the-counter anti-inflammatories can also help, as can avoiding tough, hard-to-chew foods. If your swollen gums are causing extra tissue to develop (gingival hyperplasia), the excess tissue usually subsides once your braces have been taken off. However, it can also be removed by your dentist if necessary.
Swollen gums are certainly an uncomfortable part of having braces, but it’s a small price to pay for the improved smile that’s on the horizon. Luckily, the causes for swollen gums are easily identifiable and there are many ways to remedy the situation and make your treatment process much more comfortable.
About the Author
Dr. David W. Cordes has been helping patients achieve their smile goals for well over two decades! Dr. Cordes completed his dental doctorate at the University of Connecticut School of Dental Medicine and is a member of many professional organizations including the American Dental Association, the American Association of Orthodontics, and the Northeastern Society of Orthodontics. If you have any questions about braces or would like to schedule an appointment with Dr. Cordes, he can be reached through his website or by telephone: (860) 749-1909.