How to Get Rid of Swollen Gums?
In this article, we will discuss common causes for swollen gums and the various treatment options which are available.
One of the most common causes of swollen gums is gingivitis. Gingivitis is a gum disease which causes swelling and irritation of the gums. Because the symptoms are relatively mild, most people do not even know they have the disease. Unfortunately, when gingivitis remains untreated, can result in a more serious condition known as periodontitis. In severe cases, this can result in the loss of teeth.
In most cases, gingivitis is caused by poor oral hygiene. Without proper hygiene, plaque builds up on the teeth and gum line. Plaque is a film made up of bacteria and food debris which slowly collects on the teeth. Plaque which is not properly removed turns into tartar and is very difficult to remove at home with flossing and brushing. The buildup of tartar can eventually result in gingivitis.
Another common reason for swollen gums is when a woman is pregnant. The hormones in the body during pregnancy can increase blood flow in the gums and cause increased sensitivity and irritation. This ultimately results in swelling. Hormonal changes during pregnancy can also limit the body’s ability to fight off the bacteria which causes gum infections. As a result, there is also an increased risk for developing gingivitis during pregnancy.
Various infections which are caused by fungi and viruses can also be the culprit for swollen gums. Patients who have herpes, can also have a condition which is called acute herpetic gingivostomatitis. This also causes swollen gums. Thrush, which is caused by an overgrowth of naturally occurring yeast in the mouth, can also be the cause of swelling in the gums. When dental decay remains untreated, it can cause a dental abscess or swelling of the gums.
Treating Swollen Gums
If swollen gums persist for more than two weeks, the patient should follow up with their dentist. The dentist will likely perform an examination and discuss the symptoms to help determine the cause. Dental X-rays may also be required in order to determine what is causing the swelling. The dentist will also discuss any relevant medical history, such as a pregnancy or if there are any recent diet changes. Blood work may be ordered to determine if an infection is present.
Based on the cause of the swollen gums, an oral rinse may be prescribed to aid in preventing gingivitis and to reduce the accumulation of plaque. A specific type of toothpaste may also be recommended. The dentist may also need to write a prescription for antibiotics.
In cases of extreme gingivitis, surgery may be required for treatment. A common treatment for gingivitis is called scaling and root planing. During this procedure, the dentist will scrape away diseased gums, dental plaque, and calculus, or tartar, on the roots of the teeth. This allows the gums to heal.
At Home Solutions
For the treatment of swollen gums at home, the below procedures may provide some relief:
- Use a soft toothbrush, sensitive toothpaste, and be gentle when brushing and flossing
- Use a saltwater solution rinse in the mouth to eliminate bacteria
- Consume plenty of water. This aids in producing saliva, which aids in removing bacteria and keeping the mouth clean
- Avoid the use of things which may irritate the gums such as strong mouthwashes, alcohol, and tobacco
Follow up with your dentist if the swollen gums persist or get worse over time.