What Does it Mean When Gums are Puffy

Gums are important to our oral health and our overall health. Puffy, swollen gums are often a sign of gum disease. There are other possible causes of swollen and irritated gums. If you recently noticed your gums were irritated, you may be looking for possible explanations. Below is more information on what it means when gums are puffy and some ideas on how to treat them.


Common Causes of Puffy Gums

If you have noticed your gums are puffy, and the condition has lasted for more than 2 weeks you should consider contacting your provider to schedule an appointment. If you just recently noticed your gums are puffy, some possible causes include:

* Aggressive Brushing: By brushing your teeth too vigorously, you may be doing damage when you are just trying to keep your teeth and gums clean! Your gums are made of delicate tissue and brushing this tissue too aggressively can damage it. Switching to a toothbrush with soft nylon bristles and blunted ends may help reduce wear and tear on the gums. Proper brushing technique to clean the teeth and gums includes gentle circular motions. The back-and-forth motion that some are familiar with can irritate and damage the gums, making them puffy.

* Flossing Technique: Daily flossing is important to removing plaque from hard to reach places. But aggressive flossing can also cause swollen or bleeding gums. To reduce damage, try sliding the floss up and down, following the tooth’s curve.

* Gum Disease: Over 3/4 of Americans have gum disease. Neglecting daily brushing and flossing allows bacteria to collect and buildup on the teeth. This bacteria turns into plaque that can cause the gums to swell or even bleed. Puffy gums are one of the first signs of the earliest stage of gum disease. If caught early, gum disease can be treated and reversed. However, if left untreated, it can worsen and ultimately lead to tooth loss.

* Tobacco Products: Using tobacco products can severely damage the gums. If you smoke cigarettes regularly, you may notice your gums have become irritated, or even bleed lightly.

* Hormones: Some women experience swollen or bleeding gums due to their hormones and menstruation cycles. For example, pregnancy causes a rise in hormones that can cause sore, swollen, and bleeding gums. Although it is less common, during menopause some women experience dry and sore gums.


Treating Puffy Gums

* Maintaining daily hygiene: Gently brushing your teeth at least twice each day and flossing daily may be the most important thing you can do to prevent gum problems.
* Mouthwash: Rinsing with special mouthwash will reduce the bacteria that causes gum disease and irritates the gums.
* Eat a balanced diet: A balanced diet will help keep the gums and mouth healthy.
* Drink water: Drinking sufficient water everyday can help wash food off your teeth and help saliva production, which both help reduce the buildup of plaque.
* Don’t smoke or chew tobacco: If you quit smoking cigarettes or using tobacco products you will notice the health of your gums and mouth improve dramatically.

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