Healthy gums are essential to a healthy mouth. What happens if your gums swell or start bleeding? Why do the gums in the back of your mouth hurt? What do bleeding gums mean? Is it time to call your dentist?
Swollen or bleeding gums can indicate early gum disease, leading to infection and tooth loss. The good news is you can stop gum disease at home with the proper care.
Endicott Dental can treat your gum disease before it gets worse. We also have a few tips on preventing gum disease before you lose your teeth.
What Causes Swollen Gums?
Swollen gums have many causes. Gingivitis is a common cause. This early-stage gum disease often results from improper brushing and flossing. This allows plaque and bacteria to build up along the gumline.
That plaque buildup hardens into a substance called tartar that traps bacteria against the gums. Over time, this can lead to gum disease.
Poor oral hygiene is one of the most common causes of irritated gums, especially swollen gums in the back of the mouth, where it’s harder to reach, but it’s not the only cause.
Food trapped under the gums can cause irritation. We often see this with swollen gums behind the front teeth, where the patient has bitten into something and a piece slid under the gum line.
Flossing may help remove the particle, or it may work itself out. If not, you may need to visit the dentist to remove the offending particle, especially if sore gums behind your front teeth keep you from flossing and brushing properly.
Other causes include ill-fitting dentures, bridges, clear aligners, braces, or irritation from newly added appliances such as tongue cribs or palate expanders. If you feel any of these cause your sore gums, call your dentist or orthodontist.
Gum inflammation can also be the result of underlying dental or medical conditions. An abscessed (infected) tooth can cause the gums around it to swell. A tooth injury such as a cracked root or even a cracked tooth can irritate the gums. Even brushing or flossing too hard can cause the gums to swell.
You can get swollen gums from other underlying medical conditions. Vitamin B or C deficiency, viral infections, fungal infections, or chronic conditions such as HIV, blood cancers, or diabetes can cause occasional gum swelling. You can also experience swollen gums during pregnancy because of hormonal changes and from taking certain medications.
Finally, tobacco use can cause gum pain, including smoking and chewing tobacco. Your gums can also swell from ingesting foods or drinks that are too hot and burn sensitive gum tissue.
How Do I Treat Swollen Gums?
Gum swelling can go away on its own occasionally, but usually, it requires attention. How do you treat swollen gums in the back of your mouth if you can’t see back there well? Can brushing and flossing more often improve your gum health?
Flossing is essential to good gum health. Flossing removes plaque from the gums and around the bottom edges of the teeth, where tartar can form. Flossing also removes food particles that can get under the teeth and gums and cause irritation.
Brushing after flossing removes all that food debris and bacteria you’ve pulled from between your teeth. You should brush your teeth twice daily for two minutes at a time and brush around the gumline. Don’t brush too hard because excess pressure can cause the gums to bleed and swell.
How to Reduce Gum Swelling at Home
One of the most effective home remedies is also one of the simplest: Gargle with warm salt water. The warmth will soothe your gums, and the salt helps to reduce swelling. Don’t make the water too hot, or it could burn your gums.
Ice can also reduce swelling. You can place an ice pack on your face to reduce swelling for 5-10 minutes a couple of times a day.
Your gum swelling may go away once you improve your oral hygiene or remove the irritant. If it doesn’t, you may have gum disease that will require deeper treatment.
How Your Dentist Can Treat Your Swollen Gums
Gum disease has three main stages: gingivitis, periodontitis, and advanced periodontal disease. In the early stages, your dentist can clean your teeth and rely on you to brush and floss regularly to keep your teeth clean.
The more severe forms of gum disease require dental treatment. Your dentist may perform deep cleanings for periodontitis. This is sometimes called scaling or root planing. Your doctor may also put you on antibiotics to help kill the bacteria or keep it at a lower level while your gums heal.
Advanced periodontal disease often means it’s at a stage where severe gum damage and tooth loss have happened or will soon happen. In those cases, gum surgery may be the only solution.
This is why treating your gum disease right away is so important. The longer you wait, the worse it will get. Gum disease can advance in only a matter of months, from gingivitis to tooth loss.
Preventing Swollen Gums and Gum Disease
The easiest way to prevent gum disease is to brush and floss regularly and brush well daily. Getting your teeth cleaned by a dentist at least twice a year is also important. This is often all you need to prevent gum disease.
If you have underlying medical conditions, talk with your doctor about changing medication or adding supplements that could reduce your chances of gum disease. There is a good chance your doctor can provide a solution.
Finally, quit smoking or using tobacco products, including vaping. This will reduce your chances of getting gum disease.
Getting Treatment for Swollen Gums in Broken Arrow, OK
Those with swollen gums in Broken Arrow, OK, can schedule an appointment with Endicott Dental. We can treat your swollen gums and recommend the best way to prevent further gum disease. We care about your oral health!