When your gums are healthy, they’re a nice light pink. But when they’re swollen, they’re in need of dental care with the guidance of your dentist. Swollen gums may appear to bulge out near where they meet with the teeth. They also look red rather than pink.
Swollen gums can be very sensitive and painful. If your gums are swollen, even simply brushing your teeth can cause them to bleed. It’s important that you have your dentist check them out.
Why Do I Have Swollen Gums?
In most cases, if your gums are swollen, you likely have gingivitis. This gum disease is often mild, but is very treatable. Sadly, many people are worried about going to the dentist and just ignore the slight symptoms. This is one of the worst mistakes to make because leaving it untreated can turn into periodontitis which will eventually lead to tooth loss.
Gingivitis is caused when plaque builds up too much - a result of neglecting your oral hygiene. Don’t be embarrassed! Your dentist has seen it all and will help get your gums healthy and pink again if you just go in for your appointment! Remember, plaque build-up converts to tartar after a few days, so being vigilant about your oral hygiene will keep it from getting to this dire point. Tartar can’t be removed with brushing and flossing, which is why those visits to the dentist are essential.
Pregnancy and malnutrition are other reasons why you might develop swollen gums. Infections too can be the reason, but in most cases, it’s gingivitis behind the cause.
What Can I Do About My Swollen Gums?
First and foremost, take care of your oral hygiene and go in for regular dental cleanings. If you notice your gums appear swollen for over two weeks, schedule an appointment with your dentist to get to the root of the problem.
If you act quickly, your dentist can treat your swollen gums and have them back to normal in no time. Prescription rinses, toothpastes, and antibiotics may also be required. In extreme cases, you may need to have scaling and root planing done.
After visiting the dentist, you can treat swollen gums at home too. Rinsing with saltwater helps get rid of bacteria and soothes the mouth. You should also drink plenty of water, not just for your overall health but to help keep saliva production flowing which reduces bad bacteria in your mouth. Avoid irritating your gums with alcohol, tobacco, and strong, chemical-laden mouthwashes too.
If you feel pain while you await your dental visit, you can use a warm compress. A cold one will help reduce the swelling. Alternating between them can help you feel comfortable until you get to the dentist.
Ultimately though, you’ll start taking better care of your teeth and gums. When you eat healthy foods and keep up proper dental hygiene, swollen gums are much less likely to be in your future.
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Jennifer Raskin is a freelance writer, wife and mom that loves cold weather despite her location in Florida, cooking, reading, watching ‘80s movies, weight-lifting, and wine tasting.