Definition of Gum Boils
Gum boils are a generic term that refers to various types of swelling or tissue overgrowth that occurs in the mouth. Gum boils may be fluid filled or made of solid fibrous gum tissue. Color may appear normal or the gum boil area can appear red and raw.
Types of Gum Boils
What causes gum boils? Gum boils have different causes and variations. They may also be called tumors. Knowing what causes gum boils in your mouth can help you treat them appropriately.
- Gum overgrowth may be due to a side effect of prescription medications, ill-fitting dentures, or wearing braces. These are probably the most common form of gum boils.
- A common form of gum tumor is a “pregnancy tumor” on the gums, induced by hormone levels during pregnancy. These quickly go away after the pregnancy is completed and hormone levels return to normal.
- Congenital gum boils may be present at birth.
- Dental abscesses due to severe decay and infection of the tooth nerve may appear as a boil on the gums.
- Boils caused from severe periodontal disease are present when oral hygiene and plaque levels are poor.
Signs and Symptoms of Gum Boils
Gum boils in the mouth may appear in several different forms:
- Swollen, hard areas of fibrous tissue
- Soft, swollen fluid-filled blisters
- Light pink
- Dark red
- No bleeding, lack of blood supply
- Bleeding during oral hygiene
Dangers and Health Risks
Gum boils may be completely benign or they may be a signal that there is serious infection in your mouth. Most benign gum boils do not have any symptoms such as tenderness or bleeding, while those with symptoms tend to be associated with severe dental infections. If left untreated the infections such as those associated with dental abscesses can spread through the body and increase risks for cardiovascular disease, other systemic diseases, or in rare cases, brain abscesses. 1 2
Depending on what type of infection is causing your gum boil there are a variety of home remedies and professional treatments available.
Improved Oral Hygiene
Thorough removal of plaque through using electric toothbrushes, oral irrigation devices or flossing aids can reduce the levels of plaque biofilm in the mouth, decrease the rates of tooth decay, and reverse overgrowth of gum tissue. Using a pure botanical toothpaste and mouthrinse will kill the bad bacteria that lead to common gum problems. This will also create a clean and healthy environment in the mouth.
Essential Oil Application
In addition to improved oral hygiene, the use of essential oils for topical application as part of a mouth rinse can improve bacteria levels in the mouth and improve tissue health. 3 Click here to learn more about rinsing with essential oils.
Be sure to use pure botanical oils while brushing and rinsing in order to kill the bad bacteria that cause gum problems. Click here to learn more.
If active gum disease or periodontal disease is causing the gum boil, a deep cleaning can remove the active bacteria from your mouth. Full mouth deep cleanings typically cost several hundred dollars and require frequent maintenance visits to keep oral health in check.
Root Canal Therapy
Gum boils caused from dental abscesses require root canal therapy and complete removal of the bacteria and decayed enamel from the tooth. A root canal and crown seal the tooth off from further infection. Complete treatment costs are generally over one thousand dollars.
Surgical Removal Or Drainage
Chronic gum boils, which are uncomfortable or cosmetically displeasing, may require surgical intervention. Draining the boil or surgically removing it can sometimes correct the problem. There is a chance of the boil returning in some cases. Surgically draining the boil is relatively affordable, but invasive surgical needs may cost a few hundred dollars.
If the overgrowth of tissue is due to ill-fitting dentures, your denture may need to be realigned professionally to prevent friction or abnormal rubbing of the gums.
Your Questions Answered About Gum Boils
Are gum boils contagious?
Gum boils are typically not contagious. However, if the boil is present due to the presence of severe gum disease, it is possible to spread the disease bacteria to loved ones through kissing or salivary transmission such as when sharing food.
How do I know my gum boil isn’t something serious?
Treating the gum boil through optimal oral hygiene practices should show some improvement or reversal in the area within two weeks. If the area does not improve or worsens after dedicated home hygiene you may need to see a professional for treatment.
Do gum boils hurt?
Most gum boils usually do not hurt. If the boil is due to infection and is a dental abscess there may be pain present until root canal therapy can be performed.
Can I heal gum boils on my own?
Depending on what type of infection is causing the gum boil, you may be able to heal it on your own at home. Dedicated oral hygiene that removes all plaque from the area on a routine basis may be all you need. If the boil persists you may need professional treatment.
- 1Jepsen S, Kebschull M, Deschner J.; Bundesgesundheitsblatt Gesundheitsforschung Gesundheitsschutz. Relationship Between Periodontitis And Systemic Diseases. (Article in German) 2011 Sep;54(9):1089-96. ↩
- 2Clifton TC, Kalamchi S.; A Case Of Odontogenic Brain Abscess Arising From Covert Dental Sepsis.; Ann R Coll Surg Engl. 2012 Jan;94(1):41-3. ↩
- 3Charles CA, Amini P, Gallob J, Shang H, McGuire JA, Costa R.; Antiplaque And Antigingival Efficacy Of An Alcohol-Free Essential Oil Containing Mouthrinse: A 2-Week Clinical Trial. Am J Dent. 2012 Aug:25(4):195-8. ↩