Gum inflammation is a common reaction and side effect of orthodontic treatments. However, if swelling and soreness are persistent, it may be a sign of a more serious underlying problem. Fortunately, there are several steps that can be taken to reduce the risk of gum inflammation during orthodontic treatment with braces.
Understanding Inflamed Gums
Gum inflammation, also known as gingivitis, is a common condition that occurs when the gums become red, swollen, and tender. It is caused by a buildup of bacteria in the mouth, which can irritate the gums and cause them to become inflamed.
While gingivitis is typically mild and can be easily treated, it can lead to more serious oral health problems if left untreated, including periodontitis, a more severe form of gum disease.
The Connection Between Braces & Inflamed Gums
There are several reasons why braces can contribute to gum inflammation. Braces create tiny gaps around your teeth, making it easy for food particles to become trapped, resulting in bacteria-filled plaque deposits. Having braces also makes it slightly more difficult to follow a dental hygiene routine. This leads to the accumulation of plaque, which eventually paves the way for gingivitis.
If left untreated, gingivitis can develop into a condition called periodontitis. Over time, this can adversely impact the bone and connective tissues that hold your teeth firmly in place. Braces make it more difficult to clean the teeth and gums properly. The brackets, wires, and bands used in braces can trap food particles and bacteria, making it harder to remove them through brushing and flossing. As a result, plaque and tartar can build up around the braces, leading to gum inflammation.
Additionally, braces can cause pressure on the gums and teeth, which can also contribute to inflammation. As the teeth shift into their proper position, the pressure exerted by the braces can cause the gums to become irritated and inflamed.
Tips for Preventing & Treating Inflamed Gums with Braces
There are several steps that can be taken to reduce the risk of gum inflammation during orthodontic treatment with braces. First and foremost, practice good oral hygiene by properly brushing and flossing twice a day. Using a water flosser or waterpik can easily trace your gum lines and flush out areas between your teeth. Additionally:
- Use a fluoride mouthwash: Rinsing with a fluoride mouthwash can help to kill bacteria and strengthen the teeth, reducing the risk of gum inflammation.
- Avoid sticky and hard foods: These types of foods can get stuck in the braces and contribute to plaque buildup, increasing the risk of gum inflammation.
- Get regular dental checkups: Regular dental checkups are important for monitoring oral health and catching any potential problems, including gum inflammation, early.
- Practice good oral hygiene: Brush your teeth at least twice a day and floss daily to remove any food particles and bacteria that may be trapped in your braces.
- Use a soft-bristled toothbrush: A soft-bristled toothbrush will help prevent damage to your gums and teeth.
- Rinse with a saltwater solution: A saltwater rinse can help reduce inflammation and promote healing.
- Use orthodontic wax: If your braces are rubbing against your gums, use orthodontic wax to create a barrier between your braces and your gums.
- Visit your orthodontist regularly: Regular visits to your orthodontist will ensure that your braces are properly adjusted and that any issues are addressed promptly.
When to Seek Help from a Periodontist
In some cases, additional treatment by a periodontist may be necessary to address gum inflammation during orthodontic treatment with braces. This can include deep cleaning procedures, such as scaling and root planing, or the use of antibiotics to kill bacteria in the gums.
While braces can be highly effective for correcting misaligned teeth, they can also contribute to gum inflammation if proper oral hygiene is not maintained. By practicing good oral hygiene, avoiding sticky and hard foods, and attending regular dental checkups, the risk of gum inflammation during orthodontic treatment with braces can be minimized.
Here at Poway Perio, we are happy to help you fight inflamed gums and get your teeth and gums back to good health with regular periodontal maintenance. If you have more questions or would like to book a consultation, we’re happy to discuss your individual situation. Just give us a call at 858-679-0142.