What Causes Swollen Gums with Braces?

Orthodontic treatment is designed to move and straighten your teeth to create a happy, radiant smile. While your teeth are shifting into their new positions, the stress of the movement may cause gum swelling. Don’t worry, this is normal! At Family Orthodontics Georgia, our team will work with you to keep your smile comfortable and happy.

Teeth Shifting

Watching your teeth shift into your new smile is a big deal! As your teeth and gums undergo this change, you may see some inflammation from the stress of the movement. Your teeth are constantly moving throughout the duration of your orthodontic treatment, which gradually applies pressure to your teeth and jaw the entire time.

You may notice swelling following your monthly braces adjustment, as the tightening of your braces is what moves your teeth. The best way to help minimize this swelling is to maintain proper oral hygiene throughout your treatment. Regularly brushing and flossing will help keep your smile healthy in between appointments!


As your teeth move, small spaces open up between them to create space for your new smile. Food particles, plaque, and tartar can settle into these spaces, potentially causing gingivitis, which can lead to swollen gums if it goes untreated.

Swollen gums due to gingivitis need to be properly treated by a dental professional to avoid further damage. Your orthodontist can help determine the extent of the gingivitis and provide orthodontic tips to help ease the swelling and keep your smile healthy.

Gingival Enlargement

Gingival enlargement, or gingival hyperplasia, is the overgrowth of gum tissue caused by gum irritation or plaque buildup with traditional metal braces, tooth-colored braces, or fixed appliances. Typically, committing to a regular, daily oral health regimen can help decrease gingival enlargement and reduce swelling in the gums in approximately 6 to 8 weeks. Your orthodontist will work with you on best practices to help improve the health of your gums!

Ways to Reduce Swelling

There are a few ways to reduce swelling and keep your smile happy. Most swelling can be managed right at home with a few easy steps, no matter your type of braces!

Brush Your Teeth

When wearing braces, gently brushing your teeth twice a day leads to a happy, healthy smile during and after orthodontic treatment. Regularly brushing will keep your mouth clean and reduce the risk of gum swelling. Proper brushing techniques eliminate the plaque, tartar, and food particles that can settle between your teeth and cause swollen gums.

Floss Daily

Brushing may be the first step to removing food particles and plaque from your braces but flossing daily helps you reach those deep nooks and crannies where particles may be hiding. To make sure you’re effectively flossing with your braces, your orthodontist may provide you with a floss threader to ensure you can get those hard-to-reach places.

Rinse Mouth

Another great home remedy for taking care of swollen gums is a mouth rinse. With warm saltwater, rinse your mouth multiple times a day if your gums feel irritated or swollen. This soothes inflammation and ultimately reduces the swelling caused by braces.

Over-the-Counter Medicine

Over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications are a quick, simple way to reduce swelling and alleviate pain or discomfort following an adjustment. Getting a new fixed appliance or removable appliances, such as rubber bands, may cause inflammation that was not originally present. It is helpful to have over-the-counter medications on hand to combat swelling and discomfort when it occurs and keep your smile happy throughout your orthodontic journey!

Call Today to Schedule an Appointment!

Family Orthodontics Georgia is here for you and your smile needs! If you have questions or concerns about gum swelling, or would like to schedule an appointment, contact one of our convenient Atlanta-area offices today!

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