Swollen gums are often caused by gingivitis, along with other factors like nutrient deficiencies, hormone changes, or infections. Swollen gums, also called gingival swelling, are often irritated, sensitive, or painful.
Your gums are very important to your oral health. The gums are made of firm, pink tissue that covers your jawbone. This tissue is thick, fibrous, and full of blood vessels.
If your gums become swollen, they may protrude or bulge out. Swelling in your gums usually begins where the gum meets the tooth. Your gums may become so swollen, however, that they begin to hide parts of your teeth. Swollen gums
Swollen gums, also called gingival swelling, are often irritated, sensitive, or painful. You may also notice that your gums bleed more easily when brushing or flossing your teeth.
Though swollen gums often occur due to gingivitis, many other factors can contribute, including pregnancy, malnutrition, or certain types of infections.
Gingivitis is the
Many people don’t know they have gingivitis because the symptoms can be quite mild. However, if it’s left untreated, gingivitis can eventually lead to a much more serious condition called periodontitis and possible tooth loss.
Gingivitis is most often the result of poor oral hygiene, which allows plaque to build up on the gum line and teeth. Plaque is a film composed of bacteria and food particles deposited on the teeth over time. If plaque remains on the teeth for more than a few days, it becomes tartar.
Tartar is hardened plaque, which can’t be removed with flossing and brushing alone. This is when you need to see a dental professional, as tartar buildup can lead to gingivitis.
Swollen gums can also occur during pregnancy. The rush of hormones your body produces during pregnancy may increase the blood flow in your gums. This increase in blood flow can cause your gums to be more easily irritated, leading to swelling.
These hormonal changes can also hinder your body’s ability to fight off bacteria that typically cause gum infections. This can increase your chance of developing gingivitis.
Being deficient in vitamins, especially vitamins B and C,
Vitamin C, for example,
In developed nations, malnutrition is uncommon. When it’s present, it’s
Infections caused by fungi and viruses can potentially cause swollen gums. If you have herpes, it could lead to a condition called acute herpetic gingivostomatitis, which
Thrush, which is the result of an overgrowth of naturally occurring yeast in the mouth,
If your gums are swollen for more than 2 weeks, you should talk with a dentist. The dentist will ask questions about when your symptoms began and how often they occur.
Full mouth dental X-rays may be needed to
Depending on the cause of your swollen gums, a dentist may prescribe oral rinses that help prevent gingivitis and reduce plaque. They may also recommend that you use a specific brand of toothpaste. In some cases, antibiotics may be necessary.
If you have an extreme case of gingivitis, you may need surgery. This is usually only recommended for those with later stages of gum disease,
One common treatment option is scaling and root planing. This is a procedure in which the dentist scrapes away diseased gums, dental plaque, and calculus, or tartar, on the roots of the teeth to allow the remaining gums to heal.
Treat swollen gums with care. Some tips for at-home care include:
- Soothe your gums by brushing and flossing gently, so you don’t irritate them.
- Rinse your mouth with a saltwater solution to rid your mouth of bacteria.
- Drink lots of water. Water will help stimulate the production of saliva, which weakens disease-causing bacteria in the mouth.
- Avoid irritants, including strong mouthwashes, alcohol, and tobacco.
- Place a warm compress over your face to lessen gum pain. A cold compress can help decrease swelling.
There are some preventive measures you can take to avoid swollen gums, including maintaining proper oral care and eating healthy foods.
Brush and floss regularly, especially after meals. Visit a dentist every 6 months for a cleaning and be sure to discuss any other symptoms you may be experiencing. For example, if you have dry mouth, an issue often caused by certain health conditions or medications, it
You can also talk with a dentist about mouthwashes and toothpastes that may help with gum health.
Some research suggests that chronic stress could be linked to an
Not only that, but stress may also increase the severity of gum problems and reduce the effectiveness of treatments.
Keeping stress levels under control may help prevent swollen gums and improve oral health. Practicing yoga, meditation, or deep breathing exercises are a few simple and effective strategies to relieve stress.
Certain types of toothpaste contain ingredients that could help improve oral health by decreasing tooth sensitivity, soothing gum inflammation, reducing tartar build-up, or preventing enamel erosion.
The American Dental Association recommends selecting a toothpaste that contains fluoride and is free of sugar or other flavoring agents that can contribute to tooth decay.
Be sure to brush your teeth