Braces are very often used by orthodontics to align and straighten crooked teeth and position them properly, with the overall aim to highly improve the dental health of the patient. Dental braces also help with the condition of jaw misalignment. So, how to treat swollen gums with braces?

The cases of swollen gums with braces are not uncommon. When the braces are new and are still being adjusted in the initial days, certain swelling and pain are expected. But, swollen gums could also indicate a serious dental condition that shouldn’t go unchecked if such swelling and pain persist. 

So, what causes swollen gums with braces? Is it normal to have swollen gums with braces? We’ll discuss the same and help you figure out how to get rid of swollen gums with braces without being much alarmed!

What Causes Swollen Gums with Braces

The possible causes of swollen gums with braces could be as follows:

Bad dental hygiene

Little morsels of food and dental plaque can easily get stuck in your braces, which would lead to the eventual growth of bacteria, inducing inflammation of gums. If you find it hard to clean your teeth due to the obstruction caused by the braces, then it could cause gingivitis, swollen gums, or plaque buildup. 

Gingivitis could slowly harm bone tissues around your teeth which is usually irreversible destruction. It is necessary to maintain oral hygiene and keep your mouth clean, especially during your dental treatments. 

Another condition that could be triggered due to the plaque buildup or gum swelling and irritation caused by braces could be ‘gingival hyperplasia’ or ‘hypertrophy.’ In this condition, there is an overgrowth of gum tissue occurring around your teeth. 

Gingival hyperplasia could be controlled with effective dental hygiene habits. Usually, such overgrowth of gum tissues also subsides within 6 to 8 weeks after the braces are removed. In rare instances, if the overgrown gum becomes fibrotic then it would need surgical attention. 

Swollen gums caused due to gingivitis, gingival hyperplasia, or plaque buildup will need immediate care and proper treatment. It’d be advisable then to see your orthodontist as frequently as you can to ensure your dental health is uncompromised. 

Movement of teeth

Often, moving teeth could also cause a slight amount of inflammation around your teeth. Realigning your teeth with the help of braces puts an invisible, constant, and steady pressure on your teeth which could potentially cause changes in your gums and jaw bone.

Swelling and pain in gum is a common initial reaction to getting braces for the first time. Since braces also need continual adjustments now and then, it causes discomfort in the gums too.

A certain amount of swelling and pain in the gums is normal, expected and usually fleeting. Daily brushing and flossing your teeth could highly reduce the soreness in your teeth and gums.

Underlying diseases

Sometimes, when a patient has an underlying health issue, like that of obesity or diabetes, they become more at-risk to the condition of swollen, inflamed gums. 

How to Treat Swollen Gums with Braces

While it’s advisable to see your dentist if your braces cause you discomfort very often, here are some home remedies to help you get rid of your swollen, tender gums!

  • The magic key to reducing inflammation of your gums caused due to your braces is to floss between your teeth, gently and carefully. An unwaxed floss is usually the best option but there multiple other options of floss to choose from, as per your comfort.
  • Eating hard to chew, tough food material will cause you unnecessary pain and discomfort, given the situation with your braces. So it’s best to avoid the same, especially if your gums are swollen and tender.
  • Rinsing your swollen, inflamed gums multiple times a day with some lukewarm salt water will also ease your sore gums.
  • There’s always an option to buy over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications that’d help to ease the pain in your swollen gums. Although, contacting your doctor first before consuming any medicine would still be a smart move to make!

Precautions to take

Having swollen and tender gums when you have braces is not atypical. Maintaining proper oral hygiene will help your gums in being healthier and less at-risk to any sort of swelling and pain. 

Keeping up with your routine dental hygiene will also reduce your chances of contracting gingivitis or any other advanced gum diseases. 

Swollen Gums with Braces
Swollen Gums with Braces

Since braces can make it tough for you to clean your teeth well, here are some things you can do:

  • Use an electric toothbrush which has soft bristles and a flexible brush head. An electric brush is much more successful in cleaning your teeth than regular toothbrushes.
  • Use an orthodontic floss thread to remove any food or other impurity stuck between your teeth and under the gum line.
  • After brushing your teeth, use an antibacterial mouth rinse to cleanse your mouth thoroughly.
  • Avoid eating certain food items that can be easily trapped in your braces, making it hard to clean your teeth. Some of these include steak, corn on the cob, popcorn, any hard or chewy candy, nuts, chewing gum, hard crackers, and any other hard rolls.
  • Avoid heavy consumption of sugary food because sugar mixed with saliva creates a sticky layer over your teeth. With braces, removing such a sticky film or plaque becomes harder than usual, causing an irreversible risk of tooth decay if left unclean for long.

Having swollen gums with braces is not unusual, especially if you have just gotten your braces for the first time. It can last for up to a week or so. 

Every time your braces get tightened, it may hurt and your gums may swell and be tender for one to three days. If swollen gums with braces last any longer than that, you should get yourself examined by your dentist. 

If you find bleeding along with your swollen gums, it could be because of your braces that might be cutting your gums. Seek help from your dentist immediately, in such a case. 

Generally, braces make it harder for you to take care of your dental hygiene and daily cleaning of your mouth. But, be persistent and ensure proper cleaning of your teeth every day. Gum swelling can be prevented if you regularly brush, floss, and rinse your teeth. 

Also Read: Know About Removable Braces