How Long Do Swollen Gums Last?

Do you have swollen or irritated gums? You shouldn’t be too alarmed; most American adults experience swollen gums from time to time. However, swollen gums can be a sign of an underlying health issue. If you recently noticed you have swollen gums, you may be wondering how long they last or at what point you should you be concerned. Below is more information about swollen gums and how long you should expect the condition to last.

Possible Causes of Swollen Gums

There are a number of possible causes of swollen gums. Many of the things that can lead to swollen gums are complications from oral health issues, such as:

  • Food particles stuck in the teeth: If a small piece of food, such as popcorn or a piece of an apple get stuck in the gums it can cause discomfort and swelling. Fortunately, the swelling will go away once you get the food particles out with brushing or flossing.
  • Gum disease: The early stage of gum disease, called gingivitis, can cause swelling and irritation in the gums. Gum disease is one of the most common causes of swollen gums. If you have swollen gums, your provider will first assess if you have signs of gum disease. Many patients will not have any other symptoms of gingivitis besides swollen gums. If left untreated, gum disease can progress and lead to more serious infection.
  • Pregnancy: Periods of hormonal changes in women, such as pregnancy or menopause, can cause swollen gums. During pregnancy, significant changes in hormones may increase blood flow to the gums, causing swelling.
  • Infections: Infections in the body can lead to swollen gums. However, if you have swelling in the gums and jaw as well as a fever, you may have an infected tooth and need to see your dental provider as soon as possible.
  • Other causes: Other possible causes of swelling in the gums include prescription medication use, malnutrition, or sensitivity to oral products.

How Long Do Swollen Gums Last

Often, swelling in the gums will only last 1 or 2 days. If you have a little food stuck in the teeth or have used a mouthwash that irritated your gums the swelling won’t last long. If the gums stay swollen for more than a few days, it may be a sign of a more serious underlying health issue such as an infected tooth. If you have additional symptoms, such as a fever, you should contact your dental provider and schedule an appointment as soon as possible.

When Should I be Concerned About My Swollen Gums?

Swollen gums are a common experience, and they should not be a big cause for concern. However, swollen or irritated gums can also be a sign of a larger and more serious underlying health issue and ignoring these symptoms may allow more dangerous complications to develop. Patients experiencing swollen gums for longer than 2 weeks should schedule a visit to see their dental provider for a full diagnosis and treatment.

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