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Brushing and flossing are important to prevent tooth decay and vital for healthy gums. If your gums are sore, swollen, or bleeding, there’s a good chance you’re not brushing and flossing as well as you should. Those symptoms are also signs of the beginning stage of gum disease called gingivitis. 

The doctors at Wilson & Hendrickson Orthodontics know brushing and flossing can be more challenging with braces. But they also know the consequences of not brushing with braces, including gingivitis and other periodontal diseases. What is gingivitis? Does it cause puffy gums with braces? Can you prevent gingivitis with braces? What happens if you don’t brush with braces? You may be surprised at what could happen and how easy it can be to stop gingivitis from getting worse. 

What Is Gingivitis?

What is gingivitis, and how do you get gingivitis? Let’s start with the first question. Gingivitis is the earliest stage of gum disease. It’s reversible if you catch it early and treat it properly. The symptoms of gingivitis are swelling, redness, soreness, and bleeding of the gums. Your gums may bleed after brushing or flossing or even after eating. 

How do you get gingivitis? Gingivitis is caused by plaque buildup along your gumline. Bacteria in the plaque can irritate your gums. It’s the same bacteria that can cause tooth decay. If that plaque is not removed with proper brushing and flossing, it builds up and hardens, becoming tartar. That tartar traps bacteria against your gums, irritating them and causing gingivitis. 

This is why the team at Wilson & Hendrickson Orthodontics strongly encourages our patients to keep up their good oral hygiene habits. We know getting around all those wires and brackets can be more challenging, but there are ways to do it. The alternative is to end up with gingivitis, which can develop into more serious gum disease if you don’t practice good oral hygiene

Gingivitis can develop into periodontitis, a more serious form of gum disease. This stage can cause intense gum and tooth pain, infections, and tooth loss. If you suspect you have gingivitis or periodontitis, let us know right away so we can work on a treatment plan.

Patient Candids HWH Ortho 2020 Topeka KS Orthodontist 84 1 - How to Get Rid of Gingivitis With BracesWhat Are the Signs of Gingivitis With Braces?

Having braces for common orthodontic problems may make it a little harder to recognize gingivitis. Your gums may be sore from gingivitis or from a recent braces adjustment. You may think the braces are causing puffy gums instead of gingivitis. Perhaps you assume moving teeth cause gum bleeding.

While an adjustment can make your teeth and gums sore, that soreness should only last a day or two. If it persists, there’s a good chance it isn’t related to your braces. Instead, it could be gingivitis. Also, braces shouldn’t cause your gums to bleed, so that is likely gingivitis. 

Alert us right away if you suspect you have gingivitis. We want to fix it before it gets worse because advanced gum disease could delay your braces treatment until it is repaired. 

While poor hygiene is the leading cause of gingivitis, other factors can contribute to or cause gum disease. This can include a genetic tendency toward gum disease, the use of tobacco products, and the use of certain medications. Illness and hormonal changes can also affect your gums. We’ll go over all possible causes with you and determine the best way to combat your gum disease and avoid orthodontic emergencies related to gum disease, such as a severe infection or a lost tooth. 

Patient Candids HWH Ortho 2020 Topeka KS Orthodontist 78 1 - How to Get Rid of Gingivitis With BracesHow Do I Treat Gingivitis?

Early stages of gingivitis are easy to treat. The best way is to practice good oral hygiene. Brushing and flossing properly at least twice a day for two minutes each time will halt and reverse your gingivitis. Clean thoroughly around each bracket, and use floss threaders to get around the wires of your braces and floss your teeth well. 

You also need to see your regular dentist for your semi-annual cleanings and checkups. Your dentist will be able to spot gingivitis. They will also be able to clean away tartar and plaque buildup that can cause gingivitis. 

Here’s another tip you might not know about: changing your toothbrush or toothbrush head can help prevent gum disease. Over time, the bristles of your toothbrush become soft and bent and lose their scrubbing effectiveness. Changing your toothbrush or toothbrush head (if you use an electric toothbrush) will make it easier to keep your teeth and gums clean. 

Gingivitis With Braces Care Orthodontist Topeka, KS

If you feel you have gingivitis, brush and floss properly. You can also rinse your gums with warm salt water to reduce inflammation and bleeding a couple of times a day. There are certain foods to avoid with braces that can damage your braces, but they can also irritate your gums, so definitely avoid them if you have gingivitis. This includes hard foods and candies, crunchy foods like tortilla chips, and sticky or chewy foods. 

If you’re in the Topeka, KS, or Seneca, KS, areas, you can find out more about braces treatment and preventing gum disease by contacting Wilson & Hendrickson. We’ll evaluate your dental needs and provide a plan to give you the smile you’ve always wanted. 

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