Dental braces adjust and move teeth slowly over time. They treat conditions such as crooked teeth or jaw misalignment. Braces can cause pain and swollen gums. One should expect this when braces are new or being adjusted. However, swollen gums can also indicate a more severe dental condition, such as gingivitis.
There are many reasons your gums may feel tender while you have braces, such as:
- Moving teeth generate a small about of inflammation around your teeth, and lower than usual bacteria on dental plaque could result in gingivitis.
- Poor oral hygiene can cause food and dental plaque to stick to your braces. Bacteria can grow on these plaques and induce inflammation of gum – gingivitis.
- Patients with an underlying health condition like obesity are more prone to inflamed gums.
The Moving Teeth
Even though you may not notice your teeth moving, braces apply a constant, steady pressure that results in changes to your gums and jaw bone.
Swollen gums and pain are a common reaction to getting braces for the first time. Braces also need to be adjusted around once a month, causing gum discomfort.
As braces move your teeth, tiny spaces open up between them. Over time, food and dental plaque can become trapped in these spaces where bacteria grow and induce inflammation. Not being able to keep your teeth clean because of braces can cause plaque buildup, gingivitis, and swollen gums.
These are a few ways to help calm gum tenderness:
- Rinsing several times with warm salt water can help soothe swollen gums at home.
- Taking an OTC anti-inflammatory medication that reduces swelling and pain can also help.
- Flossing between your teeth can reduce gum inflammation to a great extent.
- Avoid eating hard-to-chew foods when your gums feel tender.
When to Visit a Dentist
Swollen gums may last for a week when you first get your braces. But the condition lasting longer than that should be examined by your dentist.