Swollen Gums


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By Medicover Hospitals / 03 Mar 2021
Home | symptoms | swollen-gums
  • When you think of dental health, the focus is probably on preventing cavities in your teeth. But it's also important to pay attention to your gums. The gums play a major role not only in your dental health but in your overall well-being. Most of the time, swollen and bleeding gums are a sign of gum disease. However, several other things could cause gum problems. Whatever the cause of sore and sore gums, there are steps you can take to minimize damage and discomfort to the gums.
  • Article Context:

    1. What are Swollen Gums?
    2. Causes
    3. Diagnosis
    4. Treatment
    5. When to See a Dentist?
    6. Prevention
    7. Home Remedies
    8. FAQ's

    What are Swollen Gums?

  • Swollen gums result from excess fluid in the soft tissue of the gums and may accompany by redness, pain, sores, ulcers, and bleeding. Poor oral hygiene, leading to inflammation or infection, is the most common cause of swollen gums. Symptoms can be constant or variable and may get worse when you eat or drink. If gum pain is present, it can be described as a sharp, dull, stabbing, burning, or stabbing pain, ranging in intensity from mild to severe.
  • Depending on the cause, swollen gums may be present only in a small area of gum (sore or ulcer), or in the gums (gingivitis and periodontitis). Other conditions can produce swelling throughout the gum area. Gingivitis and other types of inflammatory conditions are among the most common causes of swelling of the gums.
  • Vitamin deficiencies, such as vitamin C deficiency, which causes scurvy and iron deficiency anemia, can associate with symptoms that affect both the mouth and the gums. Rare immune system disorders like human immunodeficiency virus / acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (HIV / AIDS) or Behcet's syndrome, can also produce symptoms in the mouth and gums. Infections of the skin and soft tissue or bones are other causes of swelling of the gums.
  • The duration and course of swollen gums differ depending on the cause. Symptoms caused by inflammation often come on suddenly. In other cases, swollen gums resulting from underlying vitamin deficiencies or chronic problems develop slowly and persist or worsen.
  • Seek immediate medical attention for severe symptoms, such as a high fever (over 101 degrees Fahrenheit), severe pain, or difficulty swallowing or breathing. Seek prompt medical attention if you are being treated for swollen gums, but mild symptoms return or persist.
  • Causes:

  • Causes of swollen gums around a tooth include:
  • Poor dental hygiene:

  • Sometimes food debris can get trapped between the tooth and the gum line. Flossing and brushing will usually remove this debris.
  • If a person does not remove the debris, it can cause the gum tissue around the tooth to swell. Over time, this may lead to dental cavities and gum disease.
  • Periodontal disease:

  • About 46% of people aged 30 or older in the United States show signs of gum disease. The medical term for this is periodontal disease.
  • Periodontal disease occurs because of infection and inflammation of the gums that support and surround the teeth. These infections occur when an individual has plaque buildup. The plaque hardens to form tartar, or tartar, which is more difficult to remove.
  • There are two stages of periodontal disease:
  • Gingivitis:

    • When a person suffers from gingivitis, their gums become swollen and inflamed.
    • Other symptoms include:
      • redness and tenderness of the gums
      • bleeding gums
      • bad breath
    • Gingivitis is reversible, but without treatment, it can lead to periodontitis.


    • Periodontitis is the later stage of periodontal disease, in which the gums break away or recede from the tooth. When this happens, an infection may damage the bone that supports the tooth, causing the tooth to loosen or even fall out.
    • A person with periodontitis will have the following symptoms besides those of gingivitis:
      • teeth that appear longer due to gum recession
      • teeth that seem more widely spaced
      • loose or wobbly teeth
      • pus between the gums and teeth
      • a change in the way the teeth come together when biting
      • a change in the fit of partial dentures

    Tooth abscess:

    • A tooth abscess is a collection of pus that forms in a tooth or its surrounding structures because of a bacterial infection.
    • There are two types of tooth abscess:
      • Periapical abscesses usually occur due to tooth decay or fractures and affect the root of a tooth.
      • Periodontal abscesses affect the gum tissue.
    • Both types can cause swelling of the gums and redness around a tooth.
    • Other symptoms of a tooth abscess include:
      • severe throbbing pain in the tooth or gum
      • pain that radiates to the ear, jaw, or neck
      • pain that is worse when lying down
      • a sensitive, discolored, or loose tooth
      • redness and swelling of the face
      • sensitivity to hot and cold foods or drinks
      • bad breath
      • an unpleasant taste in the mouth
      • If the tooth abscess is severe, a person may also experience:
      • a fever
      • a general feeling of unease
      • difficulty opening your mouth
      • difficulty swallowing
      • breathing problems


  • A periodic gum exam done in the dental office measures the spaces between the gum and the teeth called “periodontal pockets”, the amount of root exposed for each tooth called “gum recession” and other signs of bone loss. Collectively, these measurements show the general health of the gums and problem areas.
  • Other indicators of gum problems include:
    • the presence of bleeding with measurements
    • redness of the gums
    • swelling of the gums
    • bad breath
    • a persistent sore or lump that lasts over two weeks
  • A biopsy of the affected tissue is taken for diagnosis.
  • Treatment:

  • The best dental treatment for swollen and sore gums is the removal of plaque and tartar buildup. Regular dental cleanings and other procedures such as scaling and root planing can stop gingivitis in its tracks and reverse the effects of gum disease. If you have a more advanced form of periodontal disease, your dentist may recommend continued treatment for the swollen and bleeding gums.
  • When to See a Dentist?

    • People should have a dental exam at least once or twice a year, even if they don't have any dental or gum symptoms.
    • Check-ups allow the dentist to treat any problem at an early stage before it gets worse.
    • People who experience one of the following symptoms should consult a dentist between scheduled visits:
      • swollen or bleeding gums
      • mouth spots or sores that last more than a week
      • jaw pain or uneven bite
      • difficulty chewing or swallowing
      • pain or swelling in the mouth, face, or neck


  • To avoid facing the pain associated with swollen gums, you need to take the following steps to prevent this from happening.
    • Brush and floss twice a day: Brushing and flossing your teeth twice a day will go a long way in maintaining good oral hygiene and preventing swelling of the gums.
    • Maintain a healthy and balanced diet: It is especially important to maintain a healthy level of vitamins B and C, folic acid, and calcium. You can simply include a variety of vegetables and fruits in your diet and take additional vitamins to support stronger teeth and healthier gums.
    • To drink a lot of water: Drink plenty of water, especially after you eat something, as this will not only help flush out food residue and bacteria in your mouth, which will reduce the risk of plaque forming in your mouth.
    • Reduce stress and sleep well: Stress is associated with your dental health according to the Academy of General Dentistry; it affects your immune system and prevents your body from fighting bacteria.
    • Get regular dental checkups: Visit your dentist regularly to make sure everything is in perfect condition and does not require treatment. And be sure to visit your dentist if your gum problems are causing too much pain or persistence. Your dentist can not only find out what is causing your swollen gums, but they can also help your gum problems heal faster.

    Home Remedies:

    Salt water:

  • A saltwater rinse can soothe inflamed gums and promote healing.
  • Instructions:
    • Mix 1 teaspoon of salt and 8 ounces of lukewarm water.
    • Rinse your mouth with this saltwater solution for 30 seconds.
    • Spit it out; do not swallow it.
    • Do this 2-3 times a day until the swelling goes away.

    Hot and cold compresses:

  • Hot and cold compresses can relieve pain and swell in the gums.
  • Instructions:
    • After soaking a clean washcloth or towel in boiling water, wring out the excess water.
    • Hold the warm cloth against your face - outside your mouth, not directly on the gums - for about 5 minutes.
    • Wrap a bag of crushed ice in a clean washcloth or towel and hold it against your face for about 5 minutes.
    • Repeat the hot/cold cycle 2 to 3 more times.
    • Do this 2 to 3 times a day for the first two days after you find swollen gums.

    Turmeric gel:

  • Turmeric contains curcumin, which has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
  • Turmeric gel may prevent dental plaque and gingivitis.
  • Instructions:
    • After brushing your teeth, rinse your mouth with fresh water.
    • Apply turmeric gel to your gums.
    • Let the gel sit on your gums for about 10 minutes.
    • Run soft water around your mouth to rinse off the gel.
    • Spit it out, don't swallow it.
    • Do this 2 times a day until the swelling goes away.

    Hydrogen peroxide:

  • Red, sore or swollen gums should thoroughly be rinsed with water and a hydrogen peroxide solution using a 3 percent hydrogen peroxide food solution.
  • Instructions:
    • Mix 3 tablespoons of 3% hydrogen peroxide with 3 tablespoons of water.
    • Swirl the mixture around your mouth for about 30 seconds.
    • Spit it out; do not swallow it.
    • Do this 2-3 times a week until the swelling goes away.

    Essential oils:

  • Essential oils like peppermint, tea tree, and thyme oil are effective in preventing the growth of pathogenic microorganisms in the mouth.
  • Instructions:
    • Mix three drops of peppermint, thyme, or tea tree essential oil with 8 ounces of lukewarm water.
    • Rinse your mouth by shaking the mixture for about 30 seconds.
    • Spit it out; do not swallow it.
    • Do this 2 times a day until the swelling goes away.

    Aloe vera:

  • Aloe vera mouthwash is as effective as chlorhexidine, a prescription gingivitis treatment to cure and prevent gingivitis.
  • Instructions:
    • Swish 2 teaspoons of aloe vera mouthwash
    • Spit it out; do not swallow it.
    • Do this 2 times a day for 10 days.

    Frequently Asked Questions:

  • If you notice swollen gum tissue around a tooth, it could result from gum disease, poor dental hygiene, or an abscess. See your dentist make sure your swollen gum is being treated properly.
  • In most cases, gingivitis usually goes away within 10 to 14 days. If your gingivitis is more severe, it may take longer to treat. Take charge of your dental health to prevent it from happening again.
  • Pain relievers such as acetaminophen (Tylenol) and ibuprofen (Advil) can help relieve dental and oral discomfort. A person can see the best results when they combine over-the-counter (OTC) pain relievers with home remedies, like gargling with a saltwater solution.
  • Keep in mind that a gum abscess will not heal completely on its own. You must see a dentist begin treatment. Treatment for a gum abscess involves draining the abscess and removing debris from your periodontal pocket.