Causes of Swollen Gums
Are your gums swollen?
While short term gum swelling or irritation can be okay, if gum swelling lasts longer than a few days or is painful, see your dentist as soon as possible. It could be the sign of something that needs to be treated by a dental professional.
There are multiple reasons you could be experiencing swollen gums. Among those are gum disease, medications, hormonal changes, trauma or infection.
Lets dissect them below.
5 Causes of Swollen Gums
- Gum disease
- Trauma or Injury
- Abscess or Infection
Gum disease is often the leading cause of swollen gums. The first stage of gum disease can present itself as tender, red, irritated and swollen gums. This is called gingivitis. Gingivitis is reversible if caught and taken care of early enough. If gingivitis is not treated with proper oral hygiene, it will advance into periodontal disease.
Periodontal disease, also known as perio disease, is treatable but not reversible. Once the disease has spread to the bone and caused bone loss, you cannot get it back. You can however prevent further bone loss by seeing your dental professional and getting treatment for the disease and also keeping up with good home care at home.
In order to treat gum disease, you must maintain good oral health habits. Brush at least 2 times per day but preferably after every meal. Pay close attention to the gum line making sure to angle your brush 45 degrees toward the gum line to clean all the plaque from around the gums.
According to the American Dental Association or ADA.org they recommend brushing at least 2 minutes or 30 seconds in each quadrant of the mouth.
Be sure to floss daily. Daily flossing will help keep gum inflammation down and keep bacteria counts lower. Swish with an antiseptic mouth wash to help with bacteria in the mouth. Warm salt water rinses can also help heal sore, swollen gums.
See your dentists every 6 months for a routine cleaning and exam. If your dental professional sees that your gum disease has advanced from gingivitis to periodontal disease, they will recommend a treatment to help.
Here is a list of highly recommended dental products to help you achieve optimal oral health- Top Dental Recommended Products for Healthy Teeth and Gums
Certain medications can cause swollen gums. Several blood pressure, epileptic and seizure medications can cause severe gum inflammation and swelling.
If you are taking a medication you believe may be the cause of your swollen gums, speak with your physician and they may be able to recommend an alternative medication. See your dentist regularly to keep gum health in check.
Hormones can get out of whack during certain times in our lives. Among those are puberty, pregnancy and menopause. These elevated hormones can cause swollen gums and gum irritation.
To learn more about pregnancy gingivitis check out my article on it https://toothbrushlife.com/oral-health-and-pregnancy/
Speak with your doctor and they may be able to provide a medical solution to level out hormones. Stay on top of good oral health habits and make sure see your dentists for your routine cleaning and exams every 6 months. You may need to shorten your recall appointments to a shorter recall like every 3 months while going through these hormonal stages.
Trauma from food or foreign object
Trauma or injury from food or a foreign object can often irritate the gums causing them to swell. Many times popcorn kernels or chips can cause painful, swollen gums. These objects need to be removed or they can cause a gingival abscess.
See your dental professional to make sure that the object is completely removed and the area is healing well. Swish with warm salt water rinses to help the area heal faster.
Abscess or infection
If you see swollen gums around a tooth, this could likely be an infection or abscess. This could be from dental decay, gum disease, trauma, or other reasons.
See your dentists as soon as possible so they can decide the best method of treatment. Treatment could range from antibiotics to extraction of the infected tooth. Abscesses and infection should be taken seriously and you should get this taken care of quickly.
How to Treat Swollen Gums
- Brush 2 x daily
- Floss properly at least daily
- Rinse with an antiseptic mouth rinse
- Salt water rinse to help soothe and heal
- If you are on a medication that may be causing swelling gums, see your doctor and they may can find an alternative solution.
- If you have hormonal changes causing your swollen gums, see your doctor as they may can provide medication to help. Stay diligent with homecare.
- Trauma, Injury or abscess- See your dentist as soon as possible
For a list of the best dental hygiene products that I as well as thousands of other dental professionals recommend, check out this blog post> Top Oral Health Products
If your gums are bleeding, check out this article> Bleeding Gums
Kelly Hancock, RDH