do braces cause swollen gums

Do Braces Cause Swollen Gums?

Braces offer numerous benefits, including improving your overall oral health, appearance of your smile, speech patterns, and digestion. However, as your teeth gradually shift into position, you may experience swelling and pain in your gums. Experiencing swollen gums is a common problem, but it can be easily resolved with a few simple steps. This article will explore some of the most common reasons for swollen gums and treatment options.

Poor oral hygiene

Typically, braces appear to cause swollen gums because of an accumulation of plaque around the brackets, near the gums. It can be difficult to brush and floss your teeth around the brackets and wires. When plaque and food particles are left behind, it can cause gingivitis. Gingivitis is a common type of gum disease that, if left untreated, can cause more serious gum disease, such as periodontitis and tooth loss. The most common solution for treating gingivitis is adopting good oral hygiene, including brushing and flossing twice a day. Consider investing in a waterpik to floss in between your teeth. A waterpik is a great addition to regular flossing to maintain your oral hygiene at home. You may also want to purchase an interdental toothbrush. A study published in the National Library of Medicine found that an interdental toothbrush removes more plaque than brushing alone. You can find an interdental toothbrush at your local grocery, convenience,or big box store. These brushes are designed with little bristle heads specifically for cleaning the spaces in between your teeth.

Irritation from wires and brackets

Another common cause of swollen gums with braces is irritation from the wires and brackets. As the components rub against your cheeks and gums, the soft tissue can become inflamed. This is most common when you first get your braces put onto your teeth and will usually dissipate on its own as you adjust to wearing braces. If the pain is caused by an errant wire, use dental wax to cover the problem area. 

Hard and sticky foods

At times, the food you are eating can cause irritation to your teeth and gums. Tough foods, like steak, hard foods, like popcorn, and sticky foods, like candies, can get stuck in between your teeth or under your brackets. Because these foods are more difficult to remove, they can cause irritation. Avoid sticky, hard, and tough foods, as well as foods that you have to bite into (corn on the cob, apples etc.). Stick with soft foods, such as applesauce, eggs, cooked vegetables, and pasta, if you have challenges with food getting stuck in between your teeth.

Be sure to maintain your regularly scheduled visits with your orthodontist. Your orthodontist will make the necessary adjustments to your orthodontic appliances to ensure the most comfort. If you are experiencing extremely swollen, puffy, red, tender, or bleeding gums, schedule a visit with your orthodontist immediately. The sooner you seek care, the better of a chance you have at preventing more significant issues from arising.

At Milnor Orthodontics, our experts are here to help you achieve a priceless smile. Call our office at (970) 484-3214 or visit to learn more. We're located at 1103 S. Shields St. in Fort Collins, Colorado.