Braces are a safe and effective way to straighten misaligned teeth at any age. However, some patients may encounter minor complications such as gum irritation. If your gums are red, sore, or swollen, it is important to determine the cause and find an appropriate solution as soon as possible.
Regular oral hygiene may be challenging with braces. Because of this, plaque can build-up and cause gingivitis, leading to red, swollen, bleeding gums. Children and teens are especially prone to this because hormone changes can accelerate gum disease. When this occurs, teeth and gums can be more difficult to clean, further escalating the issue.
Your gums may be sensitive with braces. Hyperplasia or hypertrophy can cause gums to grow larger in reaction to the metal brackets and wires. Gums will often return to normal once orthodontic treatment is completed and your braces are removed.
The pressure of chewing firm foods causes gums to become more irritated and painful. Avoid hard and crunchy foods, such as raw vegetables and popcorn. Habits such as chewing a pen, biting nails, or pressing your tongue against your teeth can all add discomfort, as well.
To mitigate the effects of swollen, inflamed gums, you can try these basic steps:
· Use an electric toothbrush with an orthodontic head for more thorough cleaning.
· Try a water flosser to remove debris and bacteria between teeth.
· Floss threader and interproximal brushes can clean under and around wires more effectively than a toothbrush.
· Ask if a mouthwash containing fluoride or antimicrobial is advised.
· Rinse your mouth with warm water containing a pinch of salt to soothe inflammation.
· Avoid alcohol and tobacco, which increase irritation.
If gum irritation persists, contact our office for a consultation. We will check to see whether there may be another cause for your inflammation and will advise you on the next steps.