Swollen Gums- Symptoms, Causes & Treatment

Have you ever noticed your gums swell a little while brushing? They get sensitive to touch and even bleed easily. You are not alone. Although swollen gums are very normal, they might indicate a variety of health issues.

In this blog post, we’ll explain what swollen gums mean, how they appear, and most importantly, what you can do about them. Let’s get smack dab into it!


Reasons for Inflamed Gums

Reasons for Inflamed Gums

In addition to being uncomfortable, swollen gums might raise questions about oral health. Understanding the wide range of potential causes of this illness is essential for both successful treatment and prevention. Let's examine each possible reason in more detail-

1. Gingivitis

Gum swelling is most commonly caused by gingivitis. Gingivitis is brought on by inadequate dental hygiene, which permits plaque to build up along the gum line. Plaque, a sticky coating made of food particles and bacteria, irritates the gums and causes pain and inflammation. Redness, soreness, and bleeding gums—especially while brushing or flossing—are the classic signs of gingivitis. Gingivitis can develop into periodontitis, a more severe gum disease if treatment is not received in time. In periodontitis, the gum and bone inside the mouth recede, creating pockets that harbour microorganisms, aggravating the illness.

The main strategy for managing and preventing gingivitis is to establish a strict dental hygiene regimen. To keep gingivitis from worsening, regular dental checkups, daily flossing, and brushing with fluoride toothpaste are crucial for reducing plaque accumulation.

2. Hormonal Shifts and Enhanced susceptibility During Pregnancy

A woman's body experiences numerous hormonal changes during pregnancy, and her gums are no exception. Pregnancy-related increases in oestrogen and progesterone levels can increase blood flow to the gums, increasing their susceptibility to swelling and inflammation. This illness is termed pregnancy gingivitis, which typically appears in the second trimester and may last until after delivery. Red, swollen gums that bleed readily are among the symptoms, especially during eating or brushing.

Pregnant women who follow strict oral hygiene guidelines and see a dentist frequently can reduce their chance of developing pregnancy gingivitis. Dental practitioners might advise more frequent cleanings to get rid of tartar and plaque accumulation and can also provide pregnant women with specific instructions on how to take care of their teeth.

3. Malnutrition (Deficiencies in Vitamins B and C)

Nutritional deficiencies can have a major effect on gum health and cause swelling, especially when it comes to vitamins B and C. Ascorbic acid, another name for vitamin C, is an important component of collagen synthesis, which is a protein necessary for gum tissue's integrity and structure. Vitamin C deficiency can hinder the synthesis of collagen, weakening the gums and making them more prone to bleeding and inflammation. Extreme Scurvy, a disorder marked by weariness, anaemia, swollen and bleeding gums, and even tooth loss, can be brought on by a vitamin C deficit.

Suggested Product - Purexa Vitamin C Toothpaste

Maintaining optimal gum health requires making sure you eat enough vitamin-rich foods like citrus fruits, leafy greens, bell peppers, and fortified cereals. Effective treatment of vitamin deficiencies may require supplementing under the supervision of a healthcare provider in cases of severe malnutrition or dietary restrictions. Furthermore, maintaining appropriate oral hygiene practices, such as routine dental checkups, flossing, and brushing, can help avoid gum problems connected to diet and improve oral health in general.

4. Infections

Infections brought on by bacteria, viruses, and fungi are among the pathogens that can cause swollen gums and other oral health issues. One widespread viral infection identified was herpetic gingivostomatitis, mostly brought on by the herpes simplex virus, which is the cause of gum swelling (HSV). Typically, this illness manifests as painful, swollen gums and tiny blisters (vesicles) on the tongue, inner cheeks, and gums that are filled with fluid. In extreme situations, people may also feel feverish, have a sore throat, and have trouble eating or drinking.

Gum swelling can also be caused by fungi, such as oral candidiasis, or thrush. Thrush is caused by an overabundance of Candida albicans, a form of yeast that is found in the mouth naturally. The infection causes creamy white lesions on the gums, inside cheeks, and tongue. Redness, pain, and swelling are other common symptoms. People with diabetes weakened immune systems, and those on specific drugs (such as corticosteroids or antibiotics) are more vulnerable to the risk of getting oral thrush.

Bacterial infections can cause localised gum swelling and abscess formation, especially if they stem from untreated dental decay or periodontal pockets. A dental abscess is a pus-filled sac that forms because of bacterial invasion at the tooth root or in the surrounding gum tissue. Severe throbbing pain, oedema, redness, and tenderness in the afflicted area are typical symptoms. Dental abscesses can develop into more serious consequences, like systemic infection or tooth loss if they are not treated quickly.

5. Stuck-up Food Particles

Food particles becoming trapped between the teeth and gums is a common cause of sore gums. Eating crunchy or sticky snacks like caramel, popcorn, or almonds might leave hard, tiny particles that cause irritation and inflammation to the gums. Furthermore, eating quickly without practising good oral hygiene thereafter or chewing food incorrectly can make the issue worse by causing food particles to build up and aggravate gum inflammation.

Food fragments that get lodged between the gums and teeth give bacteria a place to grow, which, if ignored, can result in the development of plaque and gum disease. To get rid of food particles and preserve gum health, it is crucial to maintain good oral hygiene practices, which include brushing and flossing regularly. Dentists may suggest interdental cleaning tools, like dental floss picks or interdental brushes, to remove trapped material and avoid gum irritation in situations when food particles continue to accumulate despite good oral hygiene.

6. Other Causes

Gum swelling can result from several additional illnesses as well as lifestyle choices in addition to the ones listed above. Among them are:

Medication Side Effects- Gum swelling is a possible side effect of several drugs, including immunosuppressants, calcium channel blockers, and anticonvulsants. It's critical to let your doctor know about any medications you take as well as any unexpected symptoms, such as changes in your gums.

Sensitivity to Oral Products- Some people may experience allergic reactions or sensitivity to certain ingredients found in toothpaste, mouthwash, or oral hygiene products, which can result in gum swelling and inflammation. For sensitive people, switching to natural or hypoallergenic dental care products may help reduce discomfort.

Improperly Fitting Dental Appliances- Having crowns, dentures, or other dental appliances that are too small can put pressure on the gums and encircling tissues, causing irritation, oedema, and eventually gum disease. Wearers of dentures should make sure they fit properly and see their dentist regularly for any necessary replacements or modifications.

Suggested Read - How to Stop Bleeding Gums

Treatment and Prevention of Swollen Gums

Treatment and Prevention of Swollen Gums

Although treating swollen gums might be difficult, you can effectively control the problem and avoid further flare-ups by taking the appropriate steps. Let's look through the many gum health restoration and maintenance techniques as well as preventive measures.

1. Medical Care

Seeking advice from a dentist is crucial when dealing with gum swelling that has persisted for longer than two weeks. Dentists are qualified to evaluate oral health problems from all angles and create specialised treatment programmes to meet individual concerns. The dentist will perform a comprehensive examination during your appointment, which may involve asking about the beginning and frequency of symptoms as well as any recent dietary or lifestyle changes. Blood tests may be prescribed to check for any infections or systemic diseases, and full-mouth dental X-rays may be advised to evaluate for underlying bone loss.

The course of treatment for swollen gums may vary depending on the underlying cause. The dentist may recommend mouthwashes or toothpaste formulations designed to fight gingivitis and lessen plaque accumulation for patients with gum disease. Antibiotics could be necessary in situations where bacterial infection is present to correct the underlying microbial imbalance.

In situations of gum disease that are further advanced, such as moderate or severe periodontitis, a surgical procedure can be required. Treatments include scaling and root planing, which include removing tartar deposits and diseased gum tissue from the tooth roots can help the gums heal and stop the disease from getting worse.

2. At-Home Therapy

To properly manage swollen gums, a strict home care regimen is essential in addition to professional dental care. Simple yet efficient at-home therapy techniques consist of-

Gentle Dental Hygiene Practices- Without aggravating the condition, gently brushing and flossing your teeth can help reduce inflammation in the gums. Choose a toothbrush with soft bristles and clean the gum line with light circular strokes.

Saltwater Rinse- Several times a day, rinsing your mouth with a warm saltwater solution will help reduce gum inflammation and lessen the bacterial burden. The inherent antibacterial qualities of saltwater help to keep teeth clean and encourage gum healing.

Hydration- Throughout the day, sipping on lots of water aids in promoting salivation, which is essential for washing away food particles and killing dangerous germs in the mouth. Sufficient hydration promotes good oral health in general and helps lessen gum swelling symptoms.

Preventing Irritants- Steer away from anything that may aggravate gum inflammation and impede healing, such as tobacco, powerful mouthwashes, and alcohol-based products. For best gum health, use mild, alcohol-free mouthwashes and abstain from smoking.

Purexa hydrogen peroxide mouthwash is 100% alcohol-free. It removes stains and reduces plaque.

Temperature therapy- While a cold compress helps lessen oedema and inflammation, a warm compress applied to the face can assist relieve gum pain and discomfort. Switching compresses that alternate between warm and cold can relieve symptoms and increase comfort levels.

3. Preventive Steps

When it comes to keeping your gums healthy and averting more swelling episodes, prevention is essential. You may protect your dental health by implementing the following preventive steps into your routine-

Frequent Dental Visits- Make an appointment with your dentist for routine dental check-ups and cleanings to keep an eye on the state of your oral health and to quickly address any new issues that may arise. By removing plaque and tartar accumulation, professional cleanings lower the risk of inflammation and gum disease.

Regular Dental Hygiene Practices- Maintain good dental health by brushing your teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste and flossing in between your teeth to get rid of food particles and plaque. Think about using mouthwashes with antimicrobials. or oral irrigators to enhance your dental hygiene regimen and encourage gum health.

Healthy Eating- To promote general oral and systemic health, have a balanced diet high in fruits, vegetables, lean meats, and whole grains. Restrict your intake of acidic and sugary meals and drinks since they raise your risk of gum disease and help plaque build.

Stress Management- To lessen the negative effects of stress on dental health, incorporate stress-relieving practices into your everyday routine, such as yoga, deep breathing exercises, or mindfulness meditation. Prolonged stress can aggravate inflammation and impair immunity, which may make gum swelling worse.

Give Up Smoking- To lower your risk of gum disease and other oral health issues, think about giving up smoking or using tobacco products. Smoking affects blood quality, but flow to the gums, impeding not just the immune system's ability to fight infection but also the healing process and the time it takes for teeth to heal.

Suggested Read - Treating Bleeding Gums When Brushing

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, swollen gums can be annoying, but if you know what causes them and what treatments are available, you can deal with them early on. There are many strategies to properly manage sore gums, including maintaining proper oral hygiene, seeing a dentist, and adopting healthy lifestyle choices. Smile more, Stay safe!


Written by Dr. Shipra Jaiswal, BDS, MDS, a Periodontist and Gums Specialist

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