While we often count on our teeth to create a beautiful smile, our gums sometimes seem to get less praise and attention. As a result, they can easily become inflamed or swollen and cause a great deal of discomfort.
Healthy gums can make all the difference in the health of your teeth, so taking the time to learn about what causes inflamed gums is beneficial. More often than not, swollen gums are a signal to you that something may be wrong.
Signs of Inflamed Gums
If any of the following signs describe what you are currently experiencing, gum inflammation may be the reason.
- Tenderness in the gums
- Sores at or near the gumline
- Chronically bad breath
- Receding gums
Potential Causes for Inflamed Gums
Before rushing to conclusions or fearing the worst, know that there are several potential causes for those swollen, inflamed gums. Some will be simple to treat, while others will need a more involved process.
Here are the most common potential causes for your inflamed gums.
- Gingivitis: Gingivitis is a relatively mild form of gum disease. A common sign you have Gingivitis is if your gums bleed while flossing. Poor dental hygiene is often the cause behind this mild gum disease. The build-up of plaque leads to infection and inflammation of the gums.
- Periodontitis: As a more advanced form of gum disease, Periodontitis often results from untreated Gingivitis. Pain is more prevalent, and teeth may loosen. The disease begins to cause damage to the delicate tissue anchoring your teeth in place, causing further infection and inflammation.
- Abscess: A dental abscess occurs where pus accumulates within or surrounding a tooth. Such a condition may be due to tooth decay or fractures or something specifically affecting the gum itself.
- Stuck Food Particles: Food can easily become stuck between teeth and press up against the gum area. This irritation causes swelling. Try flossing and swishing water around inside your mouth to dislodge it for relief.
- Toothpaste or Mouthwash Sensitivity or Allergic Reaction: Sensitivity to certain products can lead to inflammation in your gums. New products can also cause an allergic reaction which leads to swelling. A new toothpaste or mouthwash is usually to blame.
- Pregnancy: Due to the various hormonal changes within the body during pregnancy, gum inflammation can occur.
- New Dental Appliances: When you receive new dental appliances like dentures, braces, or retainers, your gums need time to adapt. Swelling may occur temporarily until this happens.
- Poor Fit: The poor fit of dental appliances such as braces or dentures can prove irritating to your gums. If pain is also involved, consult with your dental team for solutions.
- Medication Side Effects: Identify any new medicines you are taking as these can cause inflamed gums as an uncomfortable side effect.
- Poor Nutrition, with Low Levels of Vitamin C: Your diet can affect the health of your gums. Try to include more nutritional foods in your diet and add vitamin C wherever possible.
- Trauma to the Mouth Area: Trauma to the mouth area often affects both teeth and gum tissue.
Treatments for Inflamed Gums
You can help heal and alleviate those swollen, inflamed gums with the following treatments.
- Change your Brushing Technique: Select soft-bristle toothbrushes and gently brush back and forth. Avoid vigorous brushing as this can damage the tissue surrounding your teeth.
- Slowly Floss: Take your time while flossing to ensure you remove all food that lodges between your teeth. Slowly slip the floss between each tooth. Avoid quickly forcing the floss down and out, which can cause damage to your gums.
- Rinse and Swish: To help remove food particles and sugary or acidic substances, rinse your mouth with water often. Swish it around for several seconds before spitting out.
- Saltwater Rinse: To soothe and promote healing of inflamed gums, rinse with saltwater two to three times per day. Combine one teaspoon of salt with 8 ounces of warm water, then rinse your mouth for 30 seconds at a time.
- Hydrogen Peroxide and Water Rinse: Red, inflamed gums may benefit from a combination of hydrogen peroxide and water. Combine the two in equal amounts and swish around in your mouth. Spit out and repeat a few times during the week until swelling decreases.
- Apply Compresses: For painful, inflamed gums, try using a combination of warm and cold compresses. Start with a warm cloth against your face for a few minutes, then switch to a cold compress (crushed ice in a cloth). Repeat a few times per day.
- Take Steps to Improve Nutrition: Plan meals with higher nutritional value. Add Vitamin C and calcium-rich foods to your diet, such as broccoli, kale, cherries, kiwi, and citrus fruits.
- Use Specially Formulated Products: Today, you can find specially formulated toothpastes and mouthwashes for gum care.
- Schedule a Professional Teeth Cleaning: To ensure healthy gums, schedule a professional cleaning to remove tartar build-up and treat Gingivitis or Periodontitis.
If swelling continues for more than a week, you need to schedule a dental consultation to determine its cause and the best treatment plan for your circumstances.
Also, schedule an appointment if the inflamed gums are accompanied by any of the following symptoms:
- jaw pain
- uneven bite
- difficulty chewing
- pain or swelling in different parts of the face, neck, or mouth
Call Stiles Dental Care Today to Schedule an Appointment
Feeling discomfort in your mouth can come from different things, including inflamed gums. Such a condition can be mild or severe, depending on what’s behind the swelling and sensitivity.
To determine the cause of your inflamed gums and the best treatment plan for you, call the office of Dr. Stiles and his team of professionals today for an appointment. Our patients receive a thorough evaluation and implementation of a treatment plan geared specifically to their individual needs.