Swollen gums are often a sign of gingivitis, or gum disease. When bacteria builds up on the surface of the teeth, a layer of plaque forms underneath the gumline and causes inflammation. If left untreated, gingivitis can lead to periodontal disease.
While swollen gums are often a sign of gingivitis, there are several other reasons why your gums may become inflamed. Before you can treat the problem, you must first determine what the cause of the problem is.
Why Are Your Gums Swollen?
There are several reasons why the gums may become swollen, or inflamed. Some of the most common causes include:
- Improper brushing and flossing techniques – Poor oral hygiene and improper brushing/flossing techniques can lead to swollen gums. Failure to brush along the gumline and floss in between teeth gives bacteria a chance to grow and flourish in these areas.
- Gingivitis – Without proper oral hygiene, gingivitis can develop and cause the gums to swell.
- Hormones – In some cases, swollen gums are the result of a hormone influx. An increase in hormones, like the ones produced during pregnancy, menstruation, puberty and menopause, can cause more blood to flow to the gums.
- Chemotherapy – Swollen, bleeding gums are a common side effect of chemotherapy.
- Ulcers in the mouth – Ulcers that form on the gums can cause swelling and pain. These ulcers have a white center and red edges.
- Tobacco use – Tobacco products and cigarettes can also cause swollen gums.
5 Home Remedies for Swollen Gums
Once you have identified the cause of your swollen gums, you can choose a treatment that addresses the cause. You may also want to schedule an appointment with your dentist to rule out any other conditions.
Although your dentist can recommend a treatment for your gums, there are also several home remedies that can provide you with relief. Most of these remedies use items that you already have in your home.
1. Brushing and Flossing Properly
If poor oral hygiene and improper brushing technique are causing your gums to swell, learning the right techniques can help remedy the problem. Brushing and flossing will also help eliminate plaque buildup that may contribute to the development of gingivitis. Here are some tips on how to brush properly:
Take a gentle approach to brushing. Brushing too hard will only irritate the gums more and exacerbate the problem.
Use a brush with nylon bristles. Nylon bristles do an excellent job of cleaning the teeth without irritating the gums and damaging tooth enamel.
Floss gently. Do not snap the floss in between the teeth. Gently slide the floss in between the teeth and follow the curve of your teeth.
2. Saltwater Rinse
Saltwater rinses are one of the oldest remedies for swollen gums. The salt in the water helps get rid of bacteria and also soothes the gums. Dissolve one teaspoon of sea salt in a cup of water. Gargle the solution for one to two minutes and rinse. Do not swallow the solution. Swallowing the solution will cause you to ingest the bacteria.
3. Warm and Cool Compresses
Warm and cool compresses are often used to treat inflammation in other parts of the body, and they can have the same effect on the gums as well. A warm compress will help alleviate pain, while a cool compress will help soothe inflammation. Apply the compress to your cheek and not the gums.
4. Lemon and Warm Water
Much like the saltwater solution, lemon and warm water can help eliminate bacteria and soothe your swollen gums. Mix the juice of one small lemon with one cup of warm water. Gargle the mixture and rinse.
5. Clove Oil
Apply clove oil to the swollen gums. Clove oil has long been used to alleviate pain and reduce inflammation. Apply the oil three times a day using a Q-tip or cotton ball.
We hope this article was helpful, but always ask your doctor first!
Please leave a comment below if you need help.