Swollen Gums – What To Do About Gum Swelling?

Swollen gums are one of the most common mouth problems [1]https://www.myvmc.com/diseases/gingivitis/. They can be caused by a number of things. And if you are suffering from gum swelling for longer than a few days, it might be time to schedule a new visit to the dentist’s office.

Of course, there are a few things you can do to alleviate pain and severity of the swelling while you wait for your appointment.

We all know it is important to take care of our teeth [2]https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/gum-disease/. After all, we’re supposed to brush our teeth. But our gums? That is an area most of us forget about it.

Who worries if their gums are swollen or a little red? The reality is that you should. Gums are full of blood vessels that carry oxygen and food to the roots of your teeth and other connecting parts of the mouth. You might think they are not important, but the reality is different.

Swelling is never normal, be it in your gums, or anywhere else in the body. Swelling is a red flag that alerts you that something is not working properly, and you have to address the issue.

What are the symptoms of swollen gums?

How can you tell the difference between swollen and healthy gums? How does healthy gingival tissue look like?

The key is to know how healthy gums look like, and spot the areas where inflammation starts to appear [3]https://www.nidcr.nih.gov/health-info/gum-disease/more-info.

Healthy Gums

  • Smooth and flat along the gum lines
  • Don’t bleed when you brush
  • Do not bleed when you floss
  • Light pink, coral, or natural tissue pigmentation throughout the mouth
  • Pointed small protrusion between each tooth
  • No pain

Inflamed and swollen gums

  • Typically have dark pink, red, blue, or purple pigmentation
  • Blunted papilla (small protrusion) between the teeth, or in some cases, no papilla at all
  • Bleeding when you brush or floss
  • Uncomfortable to severe pain
  • Rolled margin along the teeth

What are the causes of swollen gums?

In most cases, the cause of swollen gums is clearly defined [4]https://www.perio.org/consumer/alcohol-negative-effect-on-gum-health. And that is bacterial plaque, that white and filmy debris that congregates along the gum lines and on the surface of the teeth.

Plaque causes cavities, and gum infections. What you need to understand is that plaque builds up along the margin of the gum lines, and then starts to creep in underneath the gum pocket.

By doing that, plaque infects the gum from the inside up. But there is more to swollen gum than just plaque. With that in mind, here are other causes of swollen gums.

  • Incorrect brushing and flossing techniques are often a cause. Poor oral hygiene is the most common cause of dental problems [5]https://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/az-topics/b/brushing-your-teeth. And brushing and flossing is more than just pick up a brush or a floss and do your thing. For example, if you floss your teeth too roughly, you can easily cause swelling of your gums
  • Oral infections, including viruses and fungi affecting your oral health can cause irritated gums. In some cases, attacks of infections like herpes and oral thrush, can also cause swelling. Be sure to treat the infections immediately, so you do not end up with swollen gums
  • Hormonal changes, especially in women during menopause, pregnancy, puberty, PMS, and other huge shifts in the hormonal balance [6]https://newteethforme.com/women-issues-periodontal-disease/. When your body goes through several changes, especially due to hormones, it will increase the blood flow to your gums. This makes them tender and you can easily irritate them by doing regular flossing and brushing
  • Mouth ulcers and canker sores can cause painful gums. The sores usually appear as a whitish center with red edges, and people with the pre-existing autoimmune disease are more likely to develop them
  • Oral health depends vastly on vitamins and minerals, especially vitamin C and B vitamins. Therefore, when you have vitamin and mineral deficiencies caused by malnutrition, you can expect problems with your oral health, including your gums
  • Irritation and allergic reactions to ingredients in food, medications, toothpaste, can also lead to swelling of the gums. In some cases, allergic reactions to metal dental restorations can cause swelling
  • Burning your mouth on hot foods like coffee, nachos, pizza, or something else, can create a temporary trauma in your mouth, and that might result in swelling
  • Food that becomes lodged under the gums or between your teeth can be hard to clean out. And if that happens frequently throughout the day, you can expect swelling
  • Tooth misalignment, which happens when a misformed tooth is not treated, becomes very serious. This can greatly affect your oral health, including frequent flares of infection
  • Last, but not least, braces or faulty dental restorations can cause swelling as well. Faulty dental restorations can leave space for plaque to form, and these areas become heavily infected with bacteria

How to find relief?

The good news is that you can easily find a relief for swollen gums. There are a few things you can do to ease your discomfort. There are also some things you need to avoid.


  • Brush and floss regularly, as good oral hygiene is the first step to recovery. Make sure you use proper technique to find relief of gingivitis
  • Add more fruits and vegetables in your diet to make sure you are getting the right amount of vitamins to allow your gums and teeth to heal
  • Rinse your mouth with a salt water solution to relieve the pain of inflamed gums
  • Rub a mixture of baking soda and turmeric extract on the swollen gums. The two ingredients have potent antimicrobial and antibacterial properties
  • Make a paste of ginger and salt, and rub it directly on your gums. Ginger can also help with inflammation and bacteria
  • Apply some clove oil on the swollen gums. You can also chew on cloves, as they have anti-inflammatory properties and will reduce the swelling
  • Apply a paste of castor oil and camphor to your gums to make the pain go away
  • Gargle with boiled lemon juice two times per day
  • Rinse your mouth with warm salt water, in ratio 1 tablespoon of salt and 8 ounces of water
  • Rub aloe vera gel on the affected area to reduce the pain, bleeding, and inflammation
  • See your dentist if the pain is too severe and is causing you discomfort
  • Drink a lot of water, especially after you eat something to help flush the food residue and bacteria from your mouth
  • Reduce stress in your life, as stress can cause inflammation all over your body
  • Make sure to sleep well and rejuvenate your body

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