It’s ever more popular to correct teeth with orthodontics such as braces. Dental braces are a time-tested option to correct crooked teeth and bring together a well-adjusted bite with a bright, even-looking smile. But like any other corrective device, they come with their own set of side effects, especially immediately after installation. So, swollen gums with braces can occur sometimes, but they can also result from an oral condition or disease.
This article will discuss why braces can cause swelling in the gums. Then, we’ll go into the five best ways to treat your swollen gums.
Why Do I Have Swollen Gums With Braces?
When you first get braces, it’s normal for them to cause some discomfort or mild pain as they’re new. Your teeth and soft tissues need time to adjust to the pressure they cause. And braces cause this pressure because it’s necessary for them to do their job; even though you can’t see the changes, the braces supply a constant force that gradually shifts your teeth into the correct places. As you get your braces adjusted every month, some discomfort is normal and goes away after a while.
However, if you’ve had braces for a while and your gums are feeling tender and sore, there’s an important factor to consider.
Poor Oral Hygiene Causes Gum Disease and Swollen Gums
Braces make it more difficult to maintain good oral hygiene. This is because there are more obstacles in your mouth to clean around. But it’s also because it makes it more likely for bacteria, food debris, and plaque to accumulate around the braces. Crucially, bacteria that feed on food debris and are a part of dental plaque can cause inflammation of the gums, which is known as gingivitis. That’s why you’ll see typical symptoms, such as swollen gums that may be sore, tender, or even bleeding.
Even if you’re diligent with your oral hygiene, though, your teeth are in the process of shifting to new positions inside your mouth. This means tiny spaces can open up between your teeth; these are perfect for plaque and bacteria to invade. Once they’re in, they can cause inflammation and swelling.
So what are the best ways to treat swollen gums with braces?
The 5 Best Ways To Treat Swollen Gums With Braces
1. Maintain Good Oral Hygiene.
Having good oral hygiene means brushing and flossing regularly. This keeps plaque buildup under control and gets rid of bacteria that would otherwise accumulate and cause damage. You don’t want that happening, so make sure you brush twice a day, for a full two minutes, taking care to get into all of the crevices in and around your teeth and braces. Use toothpaste approved by your dentist; you can even choose a toothpaste that minimizes sensitivity.
2. Rinse With Warm Salt Water.
You can soothe your gums by rinsing your gums with warm salt water, which can lower inflammation. Do this several times a day, and make sure to take your time to ensure the saltwater reaches every corner of your mouth.
3. Take Anti-Inflammatory Medication
Anti-inflammatory medications such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) can help reduce swelling and pain.
4. Floss Between Your Teeth
This is an oft-overlooked step. Flossing between your teeth removes plaque, bacteria, and food particles that lodge themselves between your teeth. Remember, your braces are moving your teeth! As small spaces open up between them, all of this can get stuck inside, causing all sorts of problems. There are several ways to floss, the best of which is to use unwaxed dental floss. However, water flossing devices are also commonly available and may incentivize you to floss more regularly, which is ultimately the goal.
5. Avoid Hard Foods That Require Effort To Chew
As your teeth are shifting within your jaw bone, stresses on the soft tissues surrounding them can cause inflammation. This means that you should also avoid foods that cause you to exert too much force, such as hard or chewy foods. Softer foods are easier on your teeth and gums. Another benefit of avoiding crunchy or hard-textured foods is that you have fewer particles to get stuck in and around your teeth and braces.
Conclusion: Prevention and Communication Are Key
Proper dental hygiene is the key to keeping your teeth and gums healthy. It’ll help you prevent problems and enjoy your favorite foods and activities without the burden of dealing with swollen gums with braces.
Last but not least, it’s important to stay in touch with your dentist and go to all of your dental appointments. Keeping them up to date with any discomfort or problems lets them intervene before things can go wrong. When you first get your braces, the pain can last up to a week. Every adjustment afterward can cause pain that might last for one to three days. But if you have any more pain, you should bring it to your dentist’s attention.
Luxe Dental Arts is your premier holistic dentistry in Sugar Land, TX, specializing in high-quality dentistry with a gentle touch. We use advanced, modern techniques to give you the best possible treatment. Give us a call at (281) 969-7456, and we’ll be happy to help!