How to get rid of swollen gums

Most American adults experience sensitivity, swelling, or discomfort in their gums at one time or another in their life. There are many possible causes of sensitive and swollen gums. If your gums are irritated and the pain you are experiencing in your mouth is severe, you should contact your dentist immediately. However, if your gums are red, swollen and uncomfortable, it may help to first consider the possible underlying causes of the swelling before seeking treatment. Below is a discussion of causes and treatment options for swollen gums.


Possible Causes of Swollen Gums

There are many possible causes of swollen and sensitive gums. A few of the most common causes include:
Gum disease: Gum disease is the most common cause of swollen or irritated gums. Gingivitis, or the earliest stage of gum disease, is when plaque builds up along the teeth and gumline. If left untreated, this plaque will start to eat away at the healthy layers of the gums. Most people don’t notice they have gingivitis because the early symptoms are so mild. Good oral hygiene, including daily brushing and flossing plays an essential role in reducing this dangerous plaque. Maintaining regular dental visits for professional cleanings is also critical to remove the plaque that can’t be reached by brushing and flossing. If left untreated, gingivitis will progress into the more advanced stages of gum disease.


Pregnancy: Many pregnant women experience swollen or irritated gums. During pregnancy, the body produces a rush of hormones that increase blood flow to the gums, causing them to swell and become irritated. These hormones also impact the body’s ability to fight off bacteria that causes infection. Daily brushing and flossing, especially during pregnancy, will prevent plaque buildup and infection.


Infection: An infection in the body may also be the cause of swollen gums. Herpes, thrush, and a common cold can all cause gum swelling. On the other hand, untreated dental decay can lead to a dangerous dental abscess, which can cause more localized swelling. Dental abscesses are a serious concern and need immediate treatment from a dental provider.


If you are unsure what is causing your gums to swell and the swelling is getting worse or not improving, you should call your dentist and schedule an appointment.


Treatment Options for Swollen Gums

The best treatment for swollen gums will depend on the cause of the swelling. An easy home remedy is a saltwater rinse to minimize bacteria in the mouth. If your gums remain swollen for more than two weeks, you should contact your provider. Your provider can help determine the cause of the swelling and find an appropriate treatment. A full mouth exam and X-rays may be needed. Your provider may ask questions about symptoms, inquire if you’re pregnant, or evaluate any changes in your diet. Depending on the cause, your provider will select an appropriate treatment. Possible treatments may include an oral rinse to help prevent gingivitis and reduce plaque, using a specific brand of toothpaste, or taking antibiotics if necessary.


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