How to Get Rid of Swollen Gums?
Gum tissue is the thick pink tissue that covers the jawbone, protecting the bone and the teeth from bacteria. The gums are dense, fibrous, and packed with blood vessels, and their health is an important part of oral health as well as overall health. When the gums swell, they can redden with inflammation and can be irritated or painful, and they may also be more prone to bleeding while brushing or flossing. Gingival swelling, another name for swollen gums, usually appears at the gum line, where the gum tissue meets the teeth, and, if the gums are sufficiently swollen, they may begin to obscure parts of the teeth.
The most common cause of swollen gums is gingivitis, which is a form of gum disease. The symptoms of gingivitis usually start out mild, which can make it difficult to know if you have gingivitis at first; this is one reason that periodic dental checkups are so important. If left unaddressed, gingivitis can develop into periodontitis, which is a far more serious condition of the gums that can eventually result in the loss of the teeth. Gingivitis is usually caused by the buildup of bacterial plaque on the teeth and at the gumline, which most often results from poor or ineffective oral hygiene habits. When allowed to remain on the teeth for even a few days, plaque hardens and becomes tartar, and, as tartar builds up, gingivitis develops or worsens. It’s impossible to remove tartar at home, with routine brushing and flossing, and can only be removed by a dental professional in a clinical setting.
Pregnancy can also cause the gums to swell. The body produces pregnancy hormones that increase the blood flow in the gums. This increased blood flow can make the gum tissue more sensitive and prone to irritation, and this irritation can lead to swelling. Pregnancy hormones can also adversely affect the body’s natural ability to fight off bacteria, which can increase the chances of developing gingivitis during pregnancy.
Another cause of gingival swelling is malnutrition, which is more common in developing nations than in developed ones; malnutrition in developed nations is most common in older adults and not commonly seen in the general population. Deficiency in vitamins B and C is particularly likely to cause swelling of the gums. Viruses and fungi that cause infection can also cause the gums to swell. People with the herpes virus may develop herpetic gingivostomatitis, which leads to swollen gums, and thrush, which is a proliferation of naturally occurring oral yeast, can also cause the gums to swell. Dental abscess caused by untreated tooth decay can also lead to gingival swelling, though this is generally more localized than swelling caused by other factors.
If your gums remain swollen for two weeks or more, it’s a good idea to talk to your dentist. They can review your symptoms and your medical history and may conduct x-rays if needed. They can also order blood tests, which can be used to diagnose or rule out infection. Depending on the cause of gingival swelling, treatment may include oral rinses or specialized toothpaste, and in some cases, prescription antibiotics may be required. When advanced gum disease is the reason for gingival swelling, the solution may be a procedure called scaling and root planing, in which the dentist scrapes away diseased tissue and bacteria from the gums, teeth, and roots of the teeth. Until you can see your dentist, you may find relief by periodically rinsing the mouth with a saltwater solution, using a warm compress to reduce pain or a cold compress to reduce swelling, avoiding irritants like alcohol and tobacco, and generally treating the gums gently. The best way to prevent gingival swelling is by brushing twice daily and flossing daily and visiting your dentist regularly for checkups and cleanings. If you are prone to gingival swelling, you may want to ask your dentist for a recommendation for a toothpaste or mouthwash that can help relieve this condition.