Swollen gums can be painful and uncomfortable. Thankfully, there are steps you can take to reduce the swelling that they cause and speed up your healing process.
In this post, your dentists serving the Charlotte, University, Northlake, and Concord areas explain the causes of swollen gums, the fastest way to reduce gum inflammation, and the best ways to speed up your recovery.
What Are Swollen Gums?
Your gums are essential to your smile and oral health. The gums, also known as gingiva, are the thick, fleshy, and pink fibrous tissue that covers your jawbone. This tissue supports your teeth and contains blood vessels to provide a nourishing foundation for your tooth roots.
When your gums become inflamed or swollen, they may bulge or protrude and often become irritated, painful, and sensitive. Typically, swelling in the gums begins where the tooth meets the gum. Your gums may become so inflamed that they start hiding parts of your teeth. Instead of having a normal pink color, swollen or inflamed gums appear red and bleed more easily when you floss or brush them.
What Causes Swollen Gums?
Painful and swollen gums are irritating dental issues that occur for several reasons. However, identifying the cause of your pain and inflammation is the first step to recovery. Below are the common causes of gum inflammation:
Plaque That Leads to Gingivitis
Poor oral hygiene leads to plaque buildup on your gum line and your teeth, which turns into tartar if not removed within a few days. When plaque accumulates on and under your gum line and is allowed to harden into tartar, it can lead to gingivitis.
Gingivitis, the most common cause of swollen gums, is a gum disease that causes irritation and swelling. It is usually the first condition a dentist will check for in patients with inflamed gums. Symptoms of gingivitis may be mild and difficult to notice, but it is crucial to seek treatment. If left untreated, gingivitis can progress to periodontitis, a severe gum infection that can lead to tooth loss.
Increased Blood Flow During Pregnancy
Pregnancy can also cause inflamed gums. The hormonal surge during pregnancy can increase blood flow to your gums, making them more susceptible to irritation and swelling. These hormonal changes can also weaken your body’s ability to resist bacteria that lead to gum infections, raising your risk of developing gingivitis.
Infections Caused by Viruses, Bacteria, and Fungi
Infections from fungi, bacteria, and viruses can also lead to swollen gums. For instance, herpes can result in acute herpetic gingivostomatitis, a condition causing swollen gums. In addition, excessive growth of naturally occurring yeast in the mouth can cause oral thrush, leading to gum swelling.
Dental decay or carries can result in a dental abscess if left untreated. This condition causes localized gum swelling and requires emergency dental treatment.
Deficiencies in vitamins B and C can lead to swelling in the gums. Vitamin C is crucial in keeping teeth and gums healthy and functional. If your vitamin C levels fall, you may develop a condition known as scurvy, which can lead to anemia and gingivitis. Malnutrition is not a common occurrence in developed nations. However, it may be observed in older adults.
Swollen gums can also be caused by other health issues, although they are less common. Some of the other potential causes of swollen gums include:
- Side effects from certain medications
- Sensitivity to oral products like mouthwash or toothpaste ingredients
- Wearing dental appliances like dentures, mouthguards, bridges, or crowns that do not fit properly
- Food particles that get lodged between your teeth and gums
- Flossing and brushing too hard
How To Treat Swollen Gums in Two Simple Steps
If you notice that your gums are swollen or inflamed, try the following steps to relieve pain, heal your gums, and prevent reoccurrence:
Visit a Dental Professional
Visiting a dental professional like those from Modern Family Dental Care is the fastest way to heal your swollen gums and bring you out of pain.
When you visit our dental practice in Charlotte and Concord, our dentists, Dr. Taj and Dr. Rogers, will examine your teeth and gums and perform a personalized and professional dental cleaning to remove plaque and tartar that led to your gum inflammation and swelling. As soon as the plaque and tartar are removed, your body will begin a natural healing process to restore your oral health.
In addition, your dentist will be able to spot other dental issues and diagnose the underlying cause of your gum swelling. Then, depending on your condition, your dentist will recommend appropriate treatment, such as antibiotics, scaling, root planing, root canals, gum surgery, and at-home care to maintain oral health and prevent a recurrence.
Follow Home Care Treatments for Inflamed Gums
After receiving a professional teeth cleaning and treatment from your dentist, you need to make conscious efforts to maintain your teeth and prevent relapse. Below are some home care treatments to prevent gum inflammation, relieve pain, and keep your oral health in tip-top shape:
Ice pack: Applying an ice pack to the affected area can help to reduce swelling and numb the area, thus reducing pain. Wrap a few ice cubes in a clean cloth, and place the pack against your swollen gums for 10 to 15 minutes. Repeat this process as needed throughout the day.
Over-the-counter pain medication: Over-the-counter pain medication such as ibuprofen and acetaminophen can help to relieve pain and reduce swelling. Follow your dentist’s prescription for safe and effective use.
Improve your oral hygiene: Improving your oral hygiene is crucial for preventing gum swelling and promoting healing. Brush your teeth twice daily with fluoride toothpaste, and floss daily to remove plaque and food particles from between your teeth. In addition, consider using an antimicrobial mouthwash to kill harmful bacteria and freshen your breath.
Avoid irritants: Certain foods, drinks, and habits can irritate the gums and cause swelling. Avoid smoking, drinking alcohol, and consuming sugary or acidic foods. If you have a history of gum swelling, try to avoid brushing your teeth too hard, as this can also irritate the gums.
Check out the video below on the fastest way to heal swollen gums for even more information!
Your Lasting Solution for Swollen Gums in Charlotte and Concord, NC
Painful and swollen gums are annoying issues that happen for several reasons, and they can disrupt your day-to-day activities and lead to other dental problems if left untreated.
Fortunately, we offer eight different types of professional dental cleanings in Concord, the University area, Northlake, and Charlotte, NC to address the root cause of your swollen gums and speed up your healing process. We also offer other comprehensive, revolutionary dental services in Northlake, University, and Concord Mills to address your dental problems and restore your smile.
Schedule an appointment now to treat your swollen gums early – your future self will thank you later!