Swollen Gums: Causes, Risks & Prevention

swollen gums

Swollen Gums Are Easy To Prevent

Swollen gums can contribute to major issues such as diabetes, heart disease, and dementia. Healthy gums look pink, while swollen gums, also called gingival swelling, tend to look red; that’s because the tissue becomes irritated causing sensitivity, and sometimes pain. In worst cases, gums can become so swollen that they cover part of your teeth.

Dr. Debbie Luis

Dr. Debbie Luis

Mother - General Dentist - Blogger

Do you feel a little bump in your gums? Does it hurt? If so, don’t pick it! You probably have swollen gums. Believe it or not, gums are very important as they are the ones responsible for keeping your teeth in place. Gums rest over the bones of your jaws to hug your teeth tightly around the neck. 

Healthy gums look pink, while swollen gums, also called gingival swelling, tend to look red; that’s because the tissue becomes irritated causing sensitivity, and sometimes pain. In worst cases, gums can become so swollen that they cover part of your teeth. 

Taking good care of your gums, as well as all the other parts of the mouth, is not only important for your dental health but to your overall health since if left unattended, gum diseases might contribute to tooth decay, tooth loss, and even major issues such as diabetes, heart disease, dementia, and others.

That’s why today I want to talk to you about swollen gums, what causes it, what are the risks, and how to prevent it.

What Causes Swollen Gums?

We can’t really speak to one specific reason why swollen gums appear. It can happen because of many different reasons or as a consequence of a combination of factors. In any case, it is very important that you give the proper attention to it. Here is a list of the most common scenarios:

Poor Oral Care

The most common and main cause of swollen gums is poor oral hygiene. It causes bacteria and food particles to build up on the gums and teeth forming plaque which produces toxins that irritate the gums making them red or puffy.

If you let plaque sit for a few days it hardens and becomes very difficult to remove even by flossing and brushing regularly. This is known as gingivitis. At this point you need to see a dental professional to get professional treatment.

Regularly visiting your dentist can save you a ton of pain, time, and money. If you need a dental plan that gives you coverage for basic and preventive procedures click here.

Infection

Infections in the mouth such as Herpes, Thrush, and Abscess are more common than you think. They’re usually caused by viruses, bacteria, or fungi and they are typically a cause of swollen gums.

Poor Nutrition

Certain foods contain vital nutrients that the body needs to fight viruses and infections. A diet poor in vitamins B and C can lead to major health issues and gum disease that cause swollen gums.

Pregnancy

Yeap, it is true. Yeap, it can happen. And yeap, it does suck.

Being a mother is the most beautiful experience a woman can go through in her entire life. Not only does it show you what true, unconditional love is, it also makes you realize how strong, capable, and selfless you really are.

But to be able to get the highest reward, you have to go through the toughest path. A lot of physical changes occur to our bodies during pregnancy but don’t you worry. It is natural. After all, we’re only creating life, and like most things in life, if it was easy, men would do it.

Long story short, your hormones make your blood flow increase resulting in irritated, swollen gums. It is very important for pregnant women to keep good oral care and visit their dentist regularly, since hormonal changes sometimes affect your ability to fight infections, which increases your risk of getting a gum disease.

Other Causes of Swollen Gums

There are other less common reasons for swollen gums. These include, but are not limited to sensitivity, side effects of medicines, food debris, and as a consequence of other disease. 

Regardless of the cause, it is very important to see a dentist if you detect a persisting swelling in any part of your mouth.

Risks of Swollen Gums

There’s two main risks of swollen gums. The first one is Gingivitis, which causes bleeding, sensitivity, discomfort, pain, and bad breath. If you don’t take action in time then you’re exposing yourself to Periodontitis.

Periodontitis is nothing more than the gradual deterioration of the tissue that keeps your teeth in place. In other words, Periodontitis, at an advanced stage, is a potential cause of receding gums, changes in the natural position of your teeth, loosening teeth, and ultimately tooth loss.

If you have swollen gums for more than 2 weeks and they only seem to get worse, it is very important to visit your dentist so you can get treatment at early stages. If you need a dental plan and want to see our options, click here.

Preventing Swollen Gums

Any dentist will agree that the only true way to prevent swollen gums is by keeping good oral care, as I’m sure you already knew. But the expression “good oral care” itself is very vague, so I think the real question is: What is good oral care? Here’s a few tips to include in your routine:

  • Brush at least twice a day, ideally after every meal.
  • Don’t apply too much pressure while brushing. Be gentle with your gums.
  • Brush in one direction from the root to tip.
  • Floss at least once a day.
  • Use mouthwash at least once a day.
  • Make sure you’re not allergic to your brush, paste, floss or mouthwash.
  • Avoid smoking or drinking and eating sugar in excess.
  • Don’t put objects in your mouth that might pick your gums like pens, clips, toothpicks, etc.

Treatment

You will find plenty of blog entries from numerous websites that talk about home remedies for swollen gums, like rinsing with saltwater, aloe vera, or essential oils. As a professional, I strongly recommend that you visit your dentist and let them treat the condition. Most times the issue is resolved with a dental cleaning.

Conclusion

As you might’ve already noticed, hygiene plays a major role in oral health and it’s the main cause of swollen gums. Actually, it’s pretty much the main cause of most dental issues. But don’t worry, I have good news for you: it is also the easiest way to prevent most dental issues!

And yes, I know it’s hard to keep up with a routine, but believe me, it pays. It is easier than going through long, complicated (and painful) procedures. And definitely cheaper.

If you’re struggling to find an affordable dental plan, SHD offers great options for individualsfamilies and seniors. Call now to get a free Quote!

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