Proper gum health is crucial for proper oral health. Gums are made up of pink, firm tissue covering the jawbone. The tissue is fibrous, thick, and contains a large number of blood vessels. Swollen gums – referred to as gingival swelling too – are often sensitive, irritated, or painful. Swollen gums may bulge out or protrude. The place where gum swelling begins is usually the meeting point of the gum and the tooth.
The color of swollen gums is red instead of the normal pink. Besides, swollen gums bleed more easily at the time of flossing or brushing teeth.
What Makes your Gums Swollen?
There are several causes behind the inflammation of the gums. Some common causes are discussed here:
The most common cause behind gum swelling is gingivitis – a gum disease leading to swelling and irritation of gums. As the symptoms of this gum disease can be mild, many people aren’t aware that they have gingivitis. However, leaving it untreated can result in a much serious condition known as periodontitis as well as possible tooth loss.
Most often, gingivitis is caused due to poor dental hygiene that leads to the accumulation of plaque on teeth and the gum line. Plaque is a film made of food particles and bacteria that gets deposited on teeth over time. Plaque that remains on teeth for over a few days becomes tartar.
Hardened plaque, i.e., tartar, can’t usually be removed with only brushing and flossing. You need the help of a dental professional for removing tartar. The buildup of tartar can result in gingivitis.
Gum swelling can be caused by a deficiency in vitamins, especially vitamin B and vitamin C. Vitamin C has an important role to play in maintaining and repairing the gums and teeth. Vitamin C levels dropping too low may lead to scurvy. Scurvy can result in gum disease and anemia.
Pregnancy is sometimes also a reason for swollen gums. The hormone rush produced by the body during pregnancy may heighten the flow of blood in the gums. The increase in the flow of blood may irritate your gums more easily, resulting in swelling.
The hormonal changes can interfere with the ability of your body to fight bacteria too, which usually causes gum infections. The chance of gingivitis increases due to this.
Infections due to viruses and fungi can also cause inflamed gums. In case you have herpes, it may give rise to a condition known as acute herpetic gingivostomatitis that leads to swollen gums.
Gum swelling can also be caused by thrush. Thrush is caused by an overgrowth of yeast that occurs naturally in the mouth.
Dental decay, if left untreated, can cause a dental abscess, which is localized swelling of gums.
How to Treat Swollen Gums?
If you have swollen gums for over two weeks, it’s recommended to consult a dentist. A dentist will ask you questions about how often your symptoms occur and when the symptoms started. Dental X-rays of the full mouth may be required. The dentist would also enquire if your diet has changed recently or if you are pregnant. Blood tests may also be ordered to check for infection.
Based on the cause behind your swollen gums, you may be prescribed oral rinses by your dentist, which help in reducing plaque and preventing gingivitis. A specific toothpaste brand may also be recommended to you. Additionally, antibiotics might be required in some cases.
In extreme cases of gingivitis, surgery may be necessary. A common option of treatment is root planing and scaling. It’s a procedure that involves scraping away of diseased gums, tartar, calculus, or dental plaque by the dentist on the roots of teeth so that the remaining gums can heal.
Swollen gums treatment should be done with care. Following are some home remedies for inflamed gums:
- Avoid irritating your gums by flossing and brushing in a gentle manner.
- Drink a lot of water. Water stimulates saliva production, which weakens the bacteria that cause disease in the mouth.
- Use saltwater solution to rinse your mouth, which will eliminate bacteria from your mouth.
- Lower gum pain by applying a warm compress on your face. Decrease the swelling by applying a cold compress.
You can prevent swollen gums by eating healthy foods and maintaining good oral hygiene. However, if your gums feel swollen and you are thinking what to do for swollen gums, the dentists at Des Moines Dental Group can provide you the right treatment and care to cure the condition at the earliest. Red inflamed gums no longer need to be a problem with our expert dental care. Request an appointment online or give us a call now at one of our dental offices at Airport and Urbandale!