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Gum Disease and Metal Braces: What's the Connection?

Last updated 5 years ago

Periodontal disease, or gum disease, is the leading cause of tooth loss in adults. Gum disease develops when bacteria from dental plaque infect your gums, causing serious and often painful side effects like swelling, bleeding, and loss of healthy bone tissue. Unfortunately, metal braces often encourage bacteria accumulation, require extensive upkeep, and make it difficult to properly brush and floss. Read on to learn more about the connection between metal braces and gum disease.

Bacteria Buildup
Periodontal disease is caused by bacteria in dental plaque. Plaque is the sticky substance that forms on your teeth after you eat. When your teeth accumulate excess plaque, your immune system releases substances that try to eliminate the bacteria and can cause inflamed, red, and swollen gums. Metal braces encourage plaque buildup, but many people do not even realize they have excess plaque because their teeth are hidden by the braces.

Difficulty with Flossing
Plaque can accumulate both under and around dental braces. While daily brushing and flossing and regular professional cleanings sufficiently keep plaque under control for most patients, people who wear metal braces may have a difficult time keeping up the same standards of oral hygiene. Metal braces make it hard to brush the entire tooth and gums, and many people struggle to fit dental floss between brackets and wires.

Extensive Upkeep
Unlike clear braces like Invisalign aligners, metal braces require extensive upkeep and extreme vigilance. While Invisalign can be easily removed to eat or brush, metal braces are on your teeth for months at a time and are susceptible to damage from the foods you eat. Food particles can also easily become lodged between or under brackets, feeding decay-causing bacteria and giving them prolonged contact with the teeth.

Cosmetic dentist Dr. Kenn Kakosian, D.D.S., P.C., and the entire friendly team at our NYC dental office make visiting the dentist a comfortable and relaxing experience. Dr. Kakosian has practiced dentistry for over 25 years, and he has helped countless New York City clients achieve beautiful smiles with Invisalign and cosmetic procedures like teeth whitening and veneers. Get your customized treatment timeline today by calling (212) 661-9777.


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All content and information are of an unofficial nature and are not intended to be interpreted as dental advice.
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