How Do Swollen Gums with Braces Impact Your Oral Health?

How Do Swollen Gums with Braces Impact Your Oral Health?

Braces offer many benefits. But they can also cause some gum pain. Learn what this means for your oral health.

Braces do many great things for your oral health, such as alleviating the pain of crooked teeth to give you a straighter smile. But they also can come with an unwelcome side effect — sore, swollen gums.

Your gums are bound to be irritated when your dentist first attaches braces to your teeth or adjusts them. The soreness will lessen as your gums become accustomed to the appliance. On the other hand, persistent pain indicates your gums may be in trouble. Without proper care, you may be at risk for gum disease. The good news is that you can prevent that by working with your dentist on proper oral hygiene techniques while wearing braces.

Four reasons why your gums can hurt with braces

As mentioned previously, the initial placement of braces typically causes temporary gum pain. Painful, swollen gums could also be due to:

Tooth movement. Braces work by gently and steadily applying pressure to teeth to move them into proper alignment. Unfortunately, that movement can lead to aching gums. You may feel the pain most acutely after your dentist adjusts your braces every month. 

Plaque buildup. Food particles can get trapped in the spaces between your teeth and braces. That buildup of plaque and bacteria can inflame the gums and lead to gingivitis, an early stage of gum disease.

Gingival hyperplasia. Continual irritation caused by plaque may result in a condition called gingival hyperplasia. Also referred to as gingival enlargement or hypertrophy, gingival hyperplasia is an abnormal and excessive growth of gum tissue around the teeth. The condition should subside about six to eight weeks after your dentist removes the braces. Your dentist or orthodontist can remove the excess tissue if it doesn’t.

Pregnancy gingivitis. Some women develop gingivitis or early-stage gum disease during pregnancy due to hormonal changes. Talk to your dentist about preventing pregnancy gingivitis if you decide to get braces while carrying your baby.

Caring for your gums with braces

Taking care of your teeth and gums while wearing braces can be challenging. But you don’t have to live with the discomfort. You can reduce pain and swelling and maintain healthy gums with some at-home measures:

  • Rinse with warm salt water for temporary pain relief.
  • Make sure to brush twice daily for at least two minutes to clean away bacteria and plaque. Gargle with an antibacterial mouthwash.
  • Floss daily with either waxed floss or an orthodontic floss threader.
  • Avoid chewing on tough foods that may irritate tender gums or foods such as popcorn or sticky candy that can get stuck in your braces.
  • Take over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications to reduce pain and swelling.

Staying vigilant about your oral hygiene can prevent sore gums while you wear braces. If your gums are constantly painful and swollen, speak to your dentist or orthodontist. It could indicate the first signs of gum disease. Early gum disease treatment can reverse its course and give you the best smile of your life.

Let us check your gums

Schedule an appointment at Espire’s Norman, OK, location today! Your gums are an essential part of your oral health. Our highly trained dentists can examine your gums and help prevent gum disease. Don’t live near our Norman, OK, office? Find one of our other locations near you.

Norman, OK
550 24th Ave. S.W.
Norman, OK 73069