Swollen gums are relatively common. The good news is, there’s a lot you can do at home to help alleviate swelling and minimize discomfort.

If your gums remain swollen for more than a week, make an appointment with your dentist. They can diagnose the exact cause of the swelling, and recommend a treatment plan.

If you’ve noticed that your gums are swollen, try the following home care steps:

  • Brush at least twice a day and floss regularly. Most swollen gums are caused by gingivitis, good oral hygiene is a strong defense.
  • Make sure that your toothpaste (or mouthwash) is not irritating your gums. If you think that your oral hygiene products are irritating your gums, try another brand.
  • Avoid tobacco products. Tobacco can irritate your gums.
  • Avoid alcoholic beverages as they can further irritate your gums.
  • Add extra fruits and vegetables to your meals to make sure you have a well-balanced diet.
  • Don’t eat foods like popcorn that can get lodged between the teeth and gums.
  • Stay away from sugary drinks and food.

Most importantly, don’t ignore your swollen gums. Try home care remedies, but if they’re ineffective, see your dentist to ensure the swelling isn’t a symptom of something more serious.

Try one of these home remedies to help relieve your swollen gums:

Saltwater

A saltwater rinse can soothe gum inflammation and promote healing according to a 2016 study.

Directions:

  1. Mix 1 teaspoon of salt and 8 ounces of lukewarm warm water.
  2. Rinse your mouth with this saltwater solution for 30 seconds.
  3. Spit it out; do not swallow it.
  4. Do this 2 to 3 times a day until the swelling goes away.

Warm and cold compresses

Warm and cold compresses can relieve pain and swelling in swollen gums.

Directions:

  1. After soaking a clean washcloth or towel in warm water, squeeze out the excess water.
  2. Hold the warm cloth against your face — outside the mouth, not directly on the gums — for about 5 minutes.
  3. Wrap a bag of crushed ice in a clean washcloth or towel and hold it against your face for about 5 minutes.
  4. Repeat the warm/cold cycle 2 to 3 more times.
  5. Do this 2 to 3 times a day for the first two days following discovery of swollen gums.

Turmeric gel

Turmeric contains curcumin, which has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. According to a 2015 study, turmeric gel might prevent plaque and gingivitis. (Gingivitis is a common cause of swollen gums.)

Directions:

  1. After brushing your teeth, rinse your mouth with fresh water.
  2. Apply turmeric gel to your gums.
  3. Let the gel sit on your gums for about 10 minutes.
  4. Swish fresh water around your mouth to rinse off the gel.
  5. Spit it out; do not swallow it.
  6. Do this 2 times a day until the swelling goes away.

Hydrogen peroxide

The Indiana State Department of Health suggests that red, sore, or swollen gums should be rinsed thoroughly with a water and hydrogen peroxide solution using use food grade, 3 percent hydrogen peroxide solution only.

Directions:

  1. Mix 3 tablespoons of 3% hydrogen peroxide with 3 tablespoons of water.
  2. Swish the mixture around your mouth for about 30 seconds.
  3. Spit it out; do not swallow it.
  4. Do this 2 to 3 times a week until the swelling goes away.

Essential oils

According to a 2013 article in the European Journal of Dentistry, peppermint, tea tree, and thyme oil are effective in preventing the growth of disease-causing microorganisms in the mouth.

Directions:

  1. Mix three drops of either peppermint, thyme, or tea tree essential oil with 8 ounces of warm water.
  2. Rinse your mouth by swishing the mixture around for about 30 seconds.
  3. Spit it out; do not swallow it.
  4. Do this 2 times a day until the swelling goes away.

Aloe vera

Aloe vera mouthwash, according to a 2016 article in the Journal of Clinical and Experimental Dentistry, is as effective as chlorhexidine — a prescription gingivitis treatment — in curing and preventing gingivitis.

Directions:

  1. Swish 2 teaspoons of aloe vera mouthwash
  2. Spit it out; do not swallow it.
  3. Do this 2 times a day for 10 days.

Common causes for swollen gums include:

  • gingivitis (inflamed gums)
  • infection (virus or fungus)
  • malnutrition
  • poorly fitting dentures or dental appliances
  • pregnancy
  • sensitivity to toothpaste or mouthwash
  • food particles stuck between teeth and gums
  • side effect of a medicine

There are other possible causes of gum inflammation and swelling.

The best way to determine the root cause of your swollen gums is by reviewing your symptoms with your dentist so they can make an accurate and complete diagnosis.

Swollen gums are common so you should not be overly concerned if you have them. However, you should not ignore them.

There are a number of steps you can take to address the swelling, such as good oral hygiene, salt water rinses, and dietary adjustments.

If the swelling lasts for more than a week, visit your dentist for a full evaluation, diagnosis, and recommended treatment plan.