Swollen Gums – Causes, Treatment


Smiling is a very natural thing to do, but with a swollen gum, smiling gets a bit tougher. Swollen gum can cause discomfort, pain and embarrassment. Swollen gum is also popularly known as gingivitis. This condition arises when there is plaque underneath the gums that have not been successfully removed. The plaque builds up, forming tar around the tooth and eventually giving rise to inflamed and even painful gums. The swelling of the gums could further cause toothache and bad breath as well.

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There is an assortment of factors that can cause a swollen gum.  So, it is important to know the root cause in order to address and treat the problem and prevent it from happening again.

Causes of Swollen Gums

The following are some of the factors that may give rise to inflammation of the gums.

  • Bacteria

The major cause for a swollen gum is the accumulation of bacteria around the teeth which is brought about by poor dental hygiene. When a person fails to brush his teeth on a regular basis, bacteria would reside on the teeth creating a plaque. If the plaque is not removed right away, tar would accumulate on the tooth and would result to a swollen gum.

  • Dentures

Poorly fitted dentures or allergic reaction to one of the materials used for the dentures may affect the gums. This would cause the gums to get irritated and would result in swelling.

  • Drugs and medications

Swollen gums could also arise due to side effects of certain ingredients in a strong mouthwash or toothpaste or side effects of certain medications. Some medications that might cause gums to swell are nifedipine (antihypertensive drugs) and phenytoin (anti-epileptic drugs).

  • Pregnancy

Pregnancy can cause swelling in certain parts of the body, like the arms, legs and even gums. This is because of the poor circulation of blood due to the added weight brought about by pregnancy. The hormonal changes due to pregnancy are also another factor.

  • Stress

This is another factor that could also induce swelling of the gums.

  • Health problems

Swollen gum can also be caused by some other serious medical conditions such as malnutrition, leukemia, benign or cancerous tumors and vitamin C deficiency.

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How to Prevent Swollen Gums

Prevention is always better than cure, and this is especially true in the case of gum inflammation as a swollen gum is very preventable. Practicing good oral hygiene is the key. Below are some tips:

  • Brush your teeth at least twice a day, every day. This should be done in the morning, when you wake up or after breakfast and in the evening before you sleep.
  • Do not use a strong mouthwash. Ask your dentist about natural herbal or botanical mouthwash that is best to kill bacteria inside the oral cavity. Use the mouth wash every day as well in the morning and in the evening.
  • Floss before you brush your teeth in the evening. Any food particle that gets in between your teeth could attract bacteria to reside in those areas. Make sure to floss every tooth so as to prevent the accumulation of bacteria.

Swollen gums treatment

If your gums are already swelling, here are some helpful tips on how to deal with the problem:

  • Taking in vitamins C and D are known to help in treating swollen gums. Vitamin C is an antioxidant that helps repair damaged bones as well as teeth, while vitamin D has an anti-inflammatory property that would help reduce the swelling of the gums.
  • Stress is also a factor that could trigger gum inflammation. If you find yourself in a stressful situation, find ways to relax and unwind. Watch your favorite movie, take a nice slow walk or anything that you find stress-relieving.
  • Practice good oral hygiene as mentioned above.
  • Avoid excessive sweets such as chocolates, candies, junk foods and sweet cakes. Bacteria love to eat these sweet things. Learn to limit your sugar intake.
  • A mixture of salt and ginger is also a helpful home remedy for swollen gums. Just mix both ingredients then apply gently on the inflamed gums.
  • Another natural remedy for treating swelling gums is mixing one glass of warm water with the extract of one piece of lemon. Gargle using the mixture as this would not only help treat the gum swelling but could also counter bad breath.
  • Lastly, water therapy could also help in reducing the swelling of the gums.

A swollen gum is not only unsightly and distracting; it can also bring about toothache, bad breath and an unattractive smile. But this problem can be prevented with good oral hygiene practices. If the swelling of the gums persists, it would be best to consult the dentist. The dentist will be able to determine the cause of the inflammation and prescribe the most appropriate treatment option to address the problem.

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