Thanks to social media and the need to look picture-perfect all of the time, there has been a huge surge in demand for perfectly straight, shiny white teeth. It is something we all want, but that very few of us have without a little bit of help.
The thing is, no one past their teenage years – and even those in their teens – particularly want the big bulky braces of the past. They want subtle solutions to the problem of misaligned teeth, and that usually comes in the form of clear aligner appliances. Here at Aligner Co, we supply a range of invisible/clear aligner braces directly to customers. You contact us, we send out a mould for you to take an imprint of your teeth and send it back, and we provide you with a set of clear aligners to give you the perfect set of teeth that you have always wanted.
The problem is that those who have never had clear aligner treatment do not often know a lot about it, particularly as it is a fairly new concept. This means that there are all sorts of myths and misconceptions floating around about them, including that they can cause bleeding gums and other damage to your dental health. We think it would be a crying shame for someone to miss out on getting the teeth of their dreams because of misinformation on the internet, so here, we have put together a bit of a myth-busting guide to clear aligner treatment.
What is clear aligner treatment?
Before we delve into some of the myths and misinformation about the treatment, we are going to tell you a little bit more about this, just in case you haven’t heard of it or want to know more.
Essentially, aligners do the same job as traditional braces: gradually move the teeth into a better position. At the end of the treatment, teeth should be almost perfectly aligned and the jaw should e able to open and close fully without any problems.
Tooth aligners go over the teeth and apply gentle pressure to move them into the desired position. It is recommended to wear them for a minimum of 22 hours a day for the best results. They need to be changed regularly to account for the movement of the teeth. The aligners are clear, so when in place they are pretty much invisible.
Do they cause bleeding gums?
If properly cared for, no, your clear aligners from Aligner Co should not cause you to have bleeding gums. Of course, if they are not cleaned after eating, it can cause food and bacteria to build up inside, and this can then contribute to gum disease, which is otherwise known as periodontal disease. However, if you are generally healthy before having your aligners fitted, and you care for your teeth and your aligners properly, then the answer is no: aligner treatment does not cause bleeding gums.
So what causes bleeding gums?
There is a myriad of conditions and problems that can contribute to bleeding gums, and we are going to look at some of these below. If you are worried about your gums bleeding or whether you are experiencing gum recession, these are some of the symptoms to look out for:
- Swollen or puffy gums
- Gums that are not pink in color or are not firm to the touch
- They bleed easily
- They feel tender when touched
- They pull away from your teeth
- You have bad breath
- You experience pain when you are chewing
- New spaces in between your teeth
If you begin to experience any of these, it is important you make an appointment to see your regular dentist.
Let’s take a look at some of the things that CAN cause bleeding gums and gum recession:
A build-up of plaque
When it comes to bleeding gums and recessed gums, one of the main causes is a build-up of plaque. This causes a condition called gingivitis – inflamed gums. Plaque that is not cleared away can harden and form tartar. This is much more difficult to remove and can contribute to a more advanced and harder to treat kind of the disease, called periodontitis. This can also affect the jaw bone and teeth as well as your gums and is one of the leading causes of tooth loss. It is definitely something that you want to stop in its tracks before it is too late.
Brushing your teeth and gums too hard
Your gums are quite delicate, so if you brush them or your teeth too hard, you could experience bleeding. Many of us seem to be under the impression that the harder we brush, the cleaner our teeth will be, but it does not quite work like that – as with flossing. Of course, aggressive brushing WILL remove the bacteria and plaque but can also cause damage to the gums. Take a look at your toothbrush; if the bristles are frayed or bent, it may be a sign that you are brushing with too much force. What you need to imagine is a gentle massage rather than a jet wash hosing them down.
A deficiency of essential vitamins, particularly Vitamin D, can be a cause of bleeding gums. Vitamin D is essential in the production and maintenance of gut microbiomes and a healthy immune system as well as the regrowth of bone tissue. It is also what keeps our gums and teeth healthy and strong. It is thought that a whopping 50% of the population is deficient in Vitamin D, so if you are experiencing bleeding gums, it is worth taking a closer look at your diet.
Blood clotting disorders
If you experience significant bleeding when you brush your teeth, or when you cut yourself you find it more difficult to stem the flow of blood, it may be that you have a condition such as thrombocytopenia. This is where your body does not have enough platelets to form a blood clot and can cause bleeding in various parts of the body, including gums. Haemophilia is another blood clotting disorder, which, if you have other problems with bleeding, may be worth getting checked for.
How do you treat bleeding gums?
Maintain good dental hygiene
The easiest way to stop bleeding gums and recessing gums before it starts, or to help it get better is to maintain good dental hygiene. This means brushing your teeth twice a day, flossing, using an antiseptic mouthwash and paying a visit to your dentist every six months, or more often if you have any problems.
If you are a smoker, you will already know what damage the habit is doing to your heart and lungs, but you may not have realised that it can also damage your gums. It is easier said than done to give up smoking, but if you have the willpower and determination, it can be kicked. Your doctor or local smoking cessation center can help with advice.
Increase your intake of vitamin D, C and vitamin K
Vitamin C helps to strengthen your immune system and fight off any gum infections that may be causing your gums to bleed, so by upping your intake through foods such as oranges, sweet potatoes, red peppers and carrots; you can help fight them off.
Vitamin K, which can be found in spinach, kale, and other green veggies, helps with blood clotting, so if this is causing your gums to bleed, it can make a big difference.
As we mentioned above, a deficiency in vitamin D, which is in oily fish, egg yolk, red meat, and some fortified breakfast cereals, can cause bleeding gums, so increase these foods in your diet or take a supplement.
Apply a cold compress
One of the causes of bleeding gums, as we mentioned above, is brushing too hard. Other injuries to the gums – perhaps too much vigorous flossing or a bang to the face – can also cause it. If this happens, applying a cold compress to the affected area can help to reduce swelling and restrict the blood flow to stem the flow of the bleeding.
As you can see, there are many things that can cause bleeding gums, and using an invisible aligner treatment is not one of them. Fortunately, if stopped and treated early enough, bleeding gums and gum recession can be halted to prevent it from getting any worse and needing invasive treatment.
Look after your teeth, keep your aligner clean and free of food and bacteria and follow the instructions provided, and you will have a perfect set of straight teeth and healthy gums before you know it.