When it comes to practicing good dental health on a regular basis, the majority of people tend to focus entirely on just their teeth. Unfortunately, this often means that they’re neglecting an extremely important aspect of their oral health: the gums. One of the primary functions of the gums is to cover the bone surrounding the teeth and protect their internal structures from potentially harmful elements such as bacteria caused by rotting food particles. In order for the gums to perform their job successfully, it’s important to take the utmost care of them. Otherwise, they could become infected, which leads to uncomfortable symptoms such as inflammation, pain, redness, tenderness, and bleeding. These symptoms signify that you may have some form of gum disease or periodontitis. Fortunately, it’s highly treatable if it’s caught early. Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about swollen gum treatment.
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What Causes Gum Inflammation?
The simplest and most well-known explanation of inflamed gums is that you’re not taking good enough care of your oral health. Proper oral healthcare includes regular visits to the dentist, flossing daily, brushing twice a day (once in the morning and once in the evening before going to bed), and using a non-abrasive mouthwash to cleanse your mouth. Most people tend to focus mostly on the brushing aspect thinking that this alone is enough to sustain optimal oral health. The reality is that brushing doesn’t completely clean out the bacteria that can form between your teeth and the buildup of that plaque is what causes your gums to become inflamed over time.
Common Swollen Gum Conditions
As with any other physical ailment, not all gum inflammation is equal. Individual patients may experience different levels and types of discomfort depending on their oral hygiene habits. Some people might experience an immense amount of pain and discomfort, while others might not feel any pain or discomfort at all. In other cases, patients might notice that their gums are an unsightly dark red colour and they usually bleed during brushing, while other people might only experience minimal bleeding or none at all.
Sometimes the gums only become infected in certain parts of the mouth. As a result, only the teeth within close proximity to the infected area are vulnerable. However, harmful bacteria in the mouth can quickly multiply and wreak greater havoc if they’re not suppressed or eliminated as soon as possible.
The back teeth and wisdom teeth are especially prone to bacterial infection because they’re harder to reach with a toothbrush and it’s very difficult to floss back there without the aid of specific dental tools. That’s why it’s very important to go to your dental clinic for regular cleanings. Your hygienist or dentist can usually administer a complete cleaning, even in the most hard to reach parts of your mouth.
Effective Swollen Gum Treatment Options
Fortunately there are effective treatment options you can implement at home to prevent the progression of early gum disease.
First, rethink your brushing technique. Most people tend to brush their teeth in a straight line front to back because this is the method they’ve been taught. However, this technique is actually doing a lot more harm than good for your teeth. For one thing, it breaks down and wears away the protective layer of enamel on the surface of your teeth. Additionally, it also pushes your gum lines further back, causing them to recede.
A better and more effective brushing method is to switch to a soft-bristled brush (if you’re not using one already) and brush in gentle circular motions or brush from the gums up or down the tooth to minimize the risk of further gum irritation.
Rinsing your mouth out with a saltwater solution is another highly effective treatment for gum pain. This will decontaminate your entire oral cavity and rid your mouth of lingering food particles stuck on the teeth.
Additionally, drinking plenty of water—particularly during and after meals—will help prevent food particles from building up on your teeth.
FAQ about Swollen Gums
What role does stress play, if any, in the development of gum inflammation and pain?
When you feel stressed out or are severely sleep deprived, your body tends to release an abundance of cortisol, which is a stress-related hormone. This particular hormone is directly linked to causing inflammation throughout the body, most notably around the face. People who are stressed out often exhibit physical signs such as puffiness in the face, dark circles under the eyes, and swollen gums. The best solution is to try to avoid stressful situations as much as possible and get plenty of sleep at night.
Are swollen gums common with braces?
Yes, because the metal that holds your braces together typically rubs against your gums every time you chew or speak, causing a great deal of friction. Also food accumulates more easily around the braces and if not removed the gums will react by swelling.
Are swollen gums common during pregnancy?
Yes, because any type of hormonal changes your body experiences can cause an influx of excess blood flow to your face, including your gums. Many women experience mild to severe gum inflammation and pain during pregnancy despite practicing proper oral healthcare. This may disappear once the hormone levels go back to normal after you stop breast feeding the baby.
Can a common cold cause swollen gums?
Common colds can cause swollen gums in some patients because of the varying levels of dry mouth that’s often associated with them. Dry mouth essentially creates a strong breeding ground for bacteria in your mouth, whether it’s caused directly by your illness or as a side effect of the medications you’re taking. This bacteria and plaque formation can lead to gum inflammation. Make sure you ingest plenty of fluids to prevent this from happening to you.
Does ice relieve swollen gums?
Yes, applying a makeshift ice pack to your swollen or painful gums can help reduce the inflammation and relieve your discomfort. Simply wrap a few ice cubes inside a thin towel and hold it against the affected area for a few minutes or until you feel better.
When in doubt, your best bet is to seek personal advice from a dental professional. At Princeview Dental Group, we are dedicated to helping our patients maintain optimal dental health while also achieving their ideal smiles. Contact us today to book an appointment.