How to Get Rid of Swollen Gums
It is common for adults to experience sensitivity, swelling, or discomfort in the mouth. In fact, there are many possible causes of sensitive and swollen gums. If you are experiencing sensitivity or discomfort in the mouth that has become severe, you should contact your dentist immediately. However, if your gums are just red, swollen, or sensitive it may help to first determine the underlying cause of your symptoms. Once you determine the possible causes of your swollen gums you can seek out the appropriate treatment. A few of the common causes for swollen gums and some steps you can take to get rid of them are described below.
Possible Causes of Swollen Gums
You may be surprised to hear that there are many possible causes of swollen gums, including:
- Gingivitis: Gum disease, technically called gingivitis, is the most common cause of swollen gums. Gingivitis is the early stage of gum disease when plaque and bacteria have developed along the gumline. This buildup becomes dangerous as it starts to eat away at the healthy gum tissue. Most people don’t notice they have gingivitis because the early symptoms are so mild. Daily brushing and flossing can play an important role in helping to stop plaque from building up. Routine professional dental cleanings are also critical to removing plaque that can’t be reached by daily brushing and flossing. If left untreated, gingivitis will progress to a more advanced and dangerous stage of gum disease.
- Pregnancy: It is also common for swollen gums to occur during pregnancy. During pregnancy, the body produces a rush of hormones that can increase the blood flow to the gums, causing them to swell. Unfortunately, these hormones can also hamper the body’s immune system and ability to fight bacteria. Maintaining daily brushing and flossing during pregnancy is important to prevent plaque buildup and infection.
- Infection: Infections in the body can also potentially cause swollen and irritated gums. For example, herpes, thrush, and a common cold can all cause gum swelling. Fortunately, these infections can be treated and swelling minimized. On the other hand, untreated tooth decay can lead to a dental abscess, causing localized swelling around the infected tooth. A dental abscess is a serious oral health condition that needs immediate professional attention.
Treatment Options for Swollen Gums
Determining the cause of swollen gums is an important step in determining the best treatment. Rinsing with saltwater and drinking a lot of water can help to minimize bacteria in the mouth. You should contact your dental provider if you notice your gums are swollen for more than two weeks. Your provider can help you determine the cause of your swollen gums by assessing your symptoms and how often they occur. This assessment may require a full mouth exam and X-rays. After determining the cause of your swelling, your provider will be able to select an appropriate treatment. Common treatments for swollen gums include an oral rinse agent to reduce plaque, a specific brand of toothpaste to decrease sensitivity, or in some cases, antibiotics.