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Why do our gums get puffy? How do we treat them?

Why do our gums get puffy?

Why do our gums get puffy?

Throughout your life, you may notice that your gums may sometimes get bigger from time to time. There are many different reasons that your gums may be enlarged.

1. The most common reason our gums may become puffy is due to Gingivitis. Gingivitis is when the gums become inflamed and irritated due to plaque and bacteria that sit underneath the gum tissue. When the plaque is not removed the gums appear red and may even bleed as the body’s way of trying to fight that bacteria.

2. Another common reason is due to breathing with your mouth open. If you find yourself breathing through your mouth often, your gums can become very irritated. Some people even tend to keep their mouth open as they sleep which causes the gum tissues to dry out. As a result, your gums try to compensate by enlarging the blood supply to ensure that they don’t completely loose moisture.

3. Hormones are another big factor in having puffy gums. Especially in young adolescents you are growing and maturing, and experiencing changes in their chemical makeup. Women who are pregnant are also susceptible to enlarged gums due to the extra hormones produced.

4. People may overlook the effect that Stress has on our oral health. However, our mouths can be just as affected by stress as the rest of our bodies. Stress can sometimes make people neglect their oral health routines, which in turn leads to gum disease, tooth decay, teeth grinding, and jaw issues. Research has shown that stress affects our immune systems, increasing our susceptibility to infections, including the bacteria that cause gum disease.

5. It is possible that gums may become inflamed due to a Vitamin C Deficiency. Just like our immune system our mouths need a sufficient supply of good vitamins to stay healthy. Vitamin C is good way to keep gums healthy and ready to fight bacteria.

So how do we Prevent puffy gums? How do we treat them?

1. Of course we know that we must brush our teeth, but that isn’t enough. Flossing and brushing our gums will be the best way to prevent puffy gum tissue. As you floss, you want to wrap the floss around each tooth as if you are making a “C-Shape” and gently push it up underneath your gums to pull out any plaque or bacteria that may be hiding underneath. Also, when you brush your teeth you’ll want to remember to use soft, circular motions across your teeth and to massage your gum tissues as you go. This will help push out plaque from the gums as well. Just try not to scrub your gums too hard, as you can scrub them away.

2. If you think you may sleep with your mouth open you can try using an over the counter snore guard or an oral vestibular shield, that will help with the symptoms at night. You may even be suffering from a cold and that can also cause you to feel “stuffed up” and need to breath through your mouth. Try a decongestant or nasal strips.

3. As for hormones, stress, and Vitamin C deficiencies, it is important to take certain measures in keeping our immune systems healthy. As growing teens and even adults, we can can make sure that we are keeping proper oral hygiene, getting enough rest, and taking multi-vitamins or Vitamin C told help fight bacteria.

Cinco De Mayo Fun

Our Orthotime employees like to make the workplace a fun and energetic environment. Because let’s face it, all work and no play makes for a boring day!

We are always looking for a chance to celebrate, whether it’s our patients that work hard to get their braces off or a fun holiday like Cinco De Mayo.

Here’s some of the things you would have seen on our Cinco De Mayo day. There were churros, festive outfits, and great latin music. If you check out our Facebook page you’ll see which other days we’ll be celebrating and you can dress up and celebrate with us!



Tools for Keeping Your Teeth Clean with Braces

Keeping your teeth clean and free of plaque when you have braces requires extra care. The design—brackets, wires, and sometimes bands—lends itself to plaque buildup and trapped food.  If teeth with braces are not thoroughly cleaned, the plaque buildup can quickly lead to inflamed gums. Inflamed gums can hurt and lead to gingivitis.  Over the long-term it can result in calcium deposits that are visible when brackets come off. Calcium deposits are unsightly and difficult to remove. Your best option for preventing gingivitis and calcium deposits is to be meticulous with your oral hygiene when you have braces.

Luckily, there are special tools available that can help you get thoroughly clean those difficult-to-reach places. Take a look at the list below to decide which tools might be best to help you brush, floss, and rinse your mouth.


Superfloss is a handy way to get your floss around your braces. Normally when you floss, you have to move the floss in the direction of the bottom up. With orthodontics, however, the wire prevents you from effectively reaching the top of the tooth and into the gums.

The superfloss works by threading the floss over your wire. The device looks a little like a needle for hand sewing. You thread your floss through the opening at one end of the superfloss, and then you pull it through your teeth working from the top of the tooth down.  Its long and skinny design makes it easy to use. It is certainly much easier than trying to fit your fist in your mouth to somehow floss around your wires!

Water and Air Flossers

Water and air flossers are the sonic toothbrushes of flossing.  It looks a little like a sonic toothbrush as well. However, instead of a neck that holds bristles in place, the neck is actually a little wand for dispensing water  or air through your teeth.  It uses gentle but effective pressure to effectively dislodge food and clean plaque from between teeth and around gums.

Water or air flossers are a little pricier, but they might be worth the investment. After all, if you are investing in orthodontics, you must be pretty concerned about your smile. Despite the extra cash for these flossers, they are said to be 3Xs more effective than regular dental floss for cleaning around braces. Plus, they massage and stimulate your gums to keep them strong and healthy. Clean teeth and a massage for your mouth? Sounds pretty good.


Sonic or electric toothbrush

Brushing around brackets and behind wires can be tricky. Regular toothbrushes can be unwieldy in mouth full of braces, so you might want to consider a sonic or electric toothbrush.

There are a few kinds of these toothbrushes on the market, but most of them either have an oscillating head or a circulating head. Either one will do the extra brushing work for you. The swift motions will thoroughly clean the surface of your teeth.

While the head goes to work on your teeth, all you need to do is change the angle of the brush to appropriately clean the areas the wires block.

When choosing a sonic or electric toothbrush, be careful to choose one that has very soft bristles, as some models can be a little intense for delicate braces. You’ll also need to note that, when using the bristles on braces, you will need to change the head more often than regularly recommended as braces can add wear the bristles faster.


The Proxabrush is a great tool for cleaning under the wires of your braces. This brush looks a little like a triangular, tapered pipe cleaner on a traditional toothbrush handle.  It features antibacterial brush protection to stay clean between uses and prevent the spreading of germs.  In addition to cleaning around braces, the design also allows you to use the Proxabrush like floss. The brush comes in four sizes to fit the spaces between teeth.

This brush is small enough to fit underneath wires. Its 360-degree design means it cleans not just the teeth, but the wires as well.  It can also clean the sides of brackets the wires obscure.  Its small size allows you to get reach areas a one-sided toothbrush would struggle to reach.  You can view a video on how to use the Proxabrush properly here: https://itsorthotime.com/patient-education.html

These are just a few of the great tools you can use to keep your smile and your orthodontic investment in top shape. If you practice proper and careful hygiene throughout your treatment, not only will your smile be aligned, but it will also be free of any unsightly deposits and discoloration.

Featured Staff

Meet Lori and Alyssa, two welcoming members of our wonderful staff at Ortho Time!

Lori Wright, Lab Technician:
I love the awesome staff, and of course Dr. Watson. He is so kind, courteous and knowledgeable.  He really cares about his patients and staff. I love working at Orthotime.

Alyssa Johnson. Orthodontic Assist, Receptionist:
The office is fun. We have an amazing orthodontist that is very personable and friendly. Our staff is friendly and fun, and we have the best patients. It’s a very welcoming atmosphere.

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