One fine morning, while brushing your teeth, you observe that you have a swollen gum area around a tooth. No doubt this may be a worrying situation for you. However, there is no need to worry, as gum swelling is not as uncommon as it may seem to you. Here is everything you need to know about the causes and treatment of gum swelling.
What Causes Gum Swelling?
Swelling of the gums can take place due to a variety of reasons:
- Poor Oral Hygiene – when you don’t brush or floss regularly, food particles tend to adhere to the surface of the teeth, which ultimately converts into plaque deposits. Over time, this plaque hardens and becomes calculus/tartar. Both the plaque and tartar are ideal places for the growth and replication of harmful bacteria. Ultimately, these bacteria lead to the inflammation and swelling of the gums.
- Dental Abscess – an abscess is a collection of pus around a tooth. One of the most common symptoms of an abscess, apart from pain, redness, and fever, include swelling and inflammation of the gums, they may also bleed. The swelling arises due to the collection of pus around the tooth crown or root.
- Trauma – swelling of the gums can also appear in case they become injured during contact sports, or when a sharp object gets stuck between the tooth and the gum.
- Hormonal Changes – changes in hormonal levels during pregnancy, menopause or hormonal therapy can also result in the swelling of gums. Interestingly, the swelling can occur around a single gum or the gums around all the teeth.
In addition to this, some of the risk factors associated with gum swelling include:
- Uncontrolled diabetes
- Stress and anxiety
- Genetic predisposition
- Certain medications
Gum swelling can also be an early warning sign of gum disease which can progress painlessly on the whole. If left untreated full-blown gum disease could develop.
What are the ways to cure swollen gums?
The most common reason behind swelling of gums is poor oral hygiene. In most cases, gum problems will go away as soon as you start taking care of your oral health through brushing and flossing.
Gum swelling is generally a symptom of an underlying medical or dental problem. Therefore, treatment involves removal of the underlying cause. Your dentist or doctor will identify the underlying problem and then provide appropriate treatment. If required, your doctor may change your medication if it is causing gum swelling. Similarly, antibiotic treatment may also be required if the gums have become swollen due to an underlying abscess in a tooth.
Swelling of gums not only indicate an underlying dental problem but it also negatively affects your smile and facial esthetics. If you or anyone among your loved ones is suffering from gum swelling or inflammation, you should visit your dentist or healthcare physician without any delay. Failure to seek treatment can result in severe complications, which may even prove to be life-threatening. Hence, time is of the essence when it comes to treating gum problems.
How to Prevent Gum Swelling?
This is where we really start to talk about prevention rather than cure. The best way to prevent gum swelling in the 1st place is to ensure you have a good oral health care regime. This should include:
- cleaning your teeth for 2 min twice per day with the fluoride containing toothpaste
- don’t spit the toothpaste out afterwards but keep it in your mouth if possible
- wait for 20 min after eating before cleaning your teeth to give them time to recover from the immediate acid attack
- brushing in between your teeth at least once per day with either floss or an inter dental brush
- rinsing after each meal with the fluoride containing mouthwash. Never rinse directly after brushing as this washes away some of the helpful fluoride in the toothpaste.
A balanced diet with lots of vitamin containing fruit and vegetables can also help prevent gum swelling and gum disease. Keeping sugar levels low will also have a dramatic effect on the amount of plaque which builds up on your teeth and therefore the amount of gum swelling which occurs.
This post has been written by Dr Ajay Murgai, he is a highly experienced General and Cosmetic Dental Surgeon. Dr Ajay runs clinics in Hertfordshire, South Oxfordshire and Harley Street, and carries out a full spectrum of treatments from Aesthetic Dentistry to routine examinations.