The road to straighter teeth requires extra special care and attention since braces will change your daily oral health practices. But straitening teeth with braces isn’t only about improving your smile. In fact, teeth can lead to a healthier mouth, too!
One reason? Crooked and crowded teeth can make it hard to brush and floss thoroughly, which can lead to cavities, gum inflammation (or swelling) and gum disease. But braces can cause some unexpected changes in the mouth while they’re working to straighten your smile. A common question for orthodontists and dentists is, “Are my gums growing over my braces?”
While it may appear that’s the case, here’s what’s really happening:
When you have braces, you’ll need to make some changes to your daily oral health care routine. If brushing and flossing with braces isn’t done thoroughly, you can experience gum inflammation, or swollen gums.
Braces create more nooks and crannies wherein food and bacteria can build up. As we know, extra food and bacteria in the mouth creates plaque, a sticky film of bacteria. When we don’t properly brush and floss to remove this, it can lead to gum disease. Because of gum irritation from the harmful bacteria in plaque, gums may swell. The swelling in your gums, when combined with your braces, can trap more food and make it even harder to brush and floss properly. And more bacteria in your mouth equals more swelling. So, if your gums are really swollen, it can make it look like they are growing over your braces, but they’re not.
Hormone changes can also lead to swelling of the gums, so be sure to contact your dentist or orthodontist if you are experiencing swollen gums with braces.
It’s important to follow your orthodontist’s recommended cleaning methods to ensure a bacteria and inflammation-free mouth. Special floss and brushes made for braces can help clear the debris around and in-between the brackets and in hard-to-reach areas. This can reduce swelling and help prevent further swelling in the future.
If you have braces, look into getting an electric toothbrush and special brushes for cleaning your brackets. These brushes are called interproximal brushes and sometimes called “Christmas trees.”
Researching for your child? Remember that younger children don’t have the dexterity to floss thoroughly on their own, so don’t forget to lend a helping hand. If you or your child is experiencing any discomfort or concern with your braces, contact your dentist or orthodontist.
For more information on braces, check out: