Braces are effective at straightening your teeth, but they also make it harder for you to clean your teeth. As a result of difficulty with oral hygiene, many people with braces develop cavities and/or gum disease, which can lead to receding gums. In addition, the movement of your teeth may make it hard for your gums to hold on to your teeth, causing them to detach and recede.

But how serious is this connection?

Moving Teeth and Receding Gums

dreamstime_s_20485419The traditional explanation for why orthodontic treatment might cause receding gums is twofold. First, there is the hygiene problem. This leads to increased numbers of bacteria, which can then attack your teeth and gums. Second, the movement of your teeth might cause the gums to detach from the teeth. The places where this was considered most likely was in the movement of the front lower teeth, especially if these teeth were tilted. Tilting the teeth, it was thought, was the method most likely to result in detached and therefore receding gums.

Verifying the Theory

However, as with so many theories, there is some question about whether this one stands up to scrutiny when tested. Many studies and reviews of studies have looked at this question, with mixed results. A 2002 study looked at 67 patients who had the riskiest type of orthodontic movement, showed that there was no association between the orthodontic treatment and receding gums. This was confirmed by a 2011 review of studies (which, it should be noted, only looked at 7 studies).

However, a 2014 study, which was much larger, did find a statistically significant increase in visible plaque, the amount of inflammation in the gums, and receding gums due to orthodontic treatment. The average amount of gum recession was about half a millimeter. This is a small difference, but it could be enough to cause disruption of your gums and may just be the first sign of increased trouble. We don’t know whether this study came to different answers because it had more statistical power, or if it was just a random occurrence.

If Orthodontics Didn’t Give You an Attractive Smile

The goal of treatment with braces is to give you a smile you can proudly share. But your gums are essential to an attractive smile, and if you experienced receding gums, you haven’t gotten the result you desire. Fortunately, our new nonsurgical receding gums treatment can help. Please call 310-275-5325 in Beverly Hills or 949-551-5902 in Orange County to learn more about this exciting new option.