What Causes Gums to Swell?
Gum swelling is a common oral problem. It can be extremely painful and often requires a trip to the dentist or a course of antibiotics to fix. There are many possible causes of swollen gums but some of the most common are infections, gingivitis, pregnancy and nutritional deficiency. Other potential causes are poorly fitted dentures, smoking and overly aggressive brushing and flossing.
Gingivitis is a very common form of gum disease that causes pain and swelling. According to estimates, some 35% of adults suffer from some form of gum disease. The vast majority of those have the less serious form known as gingivitis while around 10 to 15 % suffer from a more serious form called periodontitis.
If a person’s dental hygiene regime is inadequate, bacteria found within the mouth ends up forming plaque on your teeth. This bacteria can cause a person’s gums to become sore, red, inflamed and may result in bleeding.
When gingivitis is recognized early enough, it can be treated but if it is left alone, it can develop into a more serious condition called periodontitis. This condition causes the gums and the bones responsible for holding the teeth firmly in place to weaken severely. Infection can result due to the bacteria releasing toxins causing an infection that weakens the bone and gums even further. When it is left untreated, periodontitis can result in the loss of teeth.
If you have periodontitis, it is essential to see a dentist as soon as possible but for people with less severe forms of gum disease, or gums that are swollen for another reason, there are plenty of very effective home remedies that you can try.
Home Remedies for Swollen Gums
1) Salt Water
One of the most effective home remedies for swelling in the gums is good old salt water. Salt can inhibit bacterial growth which prevents the infection that may cause dental problems.
- Brush your teeth as normal and then rub some salt into the gums.
- Rinse away with some warm water.
- Repeat the process twice each day.
- Once the gums feel better, use this method every other day to prevent any future recurrence.
- Alternatively, you can add a teaspoon of salt to a glass of clean water and use the solution to rinse out the mouth a few times each day.
2) Hot or Cold Compress
A simple hot compress followed by a cold compress can provide you with excellent relief from your painful, swollen gums. Simply holding a compress on your face for a few minutes can do a great deal to reduce inflammation and ease pain.
- Soak a cloth in some warm water then ring out any excess fluid.
- Hold the warm cloth against the cheek for at least 5 minutes.
- After that, it is time for the cold compress.
- Wrap some ice or a bag of frozen produce like peas in a towel.
- Hold the cold compress against your cheek for another 5 minutes or so.
- Repeat the process for as long as necessary.
Turmeric is an incredibly healthy spice with a wide variety of medicinal uses. Research shows that it is highly antioxidant while it also contains anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties that can help relieve pain and reduce oral swelling.
- Mix some turmeric powder with the right amount of water to get a nice smooth paste.
- Apply the paste to your swollen gums with a finger or cotton swab.
- Let the paste sit and work for at least 5 minutes and massage it around the gums.
- Rinse your mouth out with clean warm water.
- Repeat twice a day for as long as you need.
4) Hydrogen Peroxide
Hydrogen peroxide is another very effective and convenient option for swollen gums and oral pain. Hydrogen peroxide can help destroy bacteria and prevent any infections that may cause the swelling. When it comes to oral health, make sure that you use a food grade 3% form of hydrogen peroxide.
- Mix your food grade hydrogen peroxide with an equal amount of water.
- Swish this solution around the mouth for 30 seconds or so paying close attention to the teeth and the gums.
- Be careful not to swallow any of the solution.
- Rinse your mouth out with water.
- Repeat this treatment every other day for as long as necessary.
5) Essential Oils
Many of your favorite essential oils are great for oral health, swollen gums and common conditions like gingivitis. A number of essential oils contain powerful anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties making them perfect for treating swollen gums. They can also help prevent the recurrence of your condition and leave your breath smelling sweet.
Some of the best essential oils for oral issues and swollen gums are clove essential oil, peppermint, tea tree and ginger.
The best way to use your essential oils to treat your gum swelling is to make a mouthwash.
- Add a few drops of your chosen essential oil to a glass full of warm distilled water.
- Use the solution as a mouthwash morning and night.
- Be careful not to swallow any of the solution.
6) Aloe Vera
Aloe vera is best known for its applications on the skin but it is also an extremely effective remedy for swollen, painful gums. Aloe vera has both antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties that are perfect for gum complaints. It can help to reduce the swelling and the spread of the bacteria that may have caused the condition.
- Cut an aloe leaf and extract its gel.
- Using your finger or a cotton bud, apply the gel to your swollen gums.
- Massage the affected areas for a few minutes then rinse out with clean water.
- Repeat the process every morning and night until you are better.
7) Tea Bags
Both regular black and green tea bags can be used to relieve swelling in the gums and to improve oral hygiene. Green tea is packed with antioxidants while black tea contains tannins that have skin tightening properties.
- Boil up some water and add a tea bag or two.
- Let the tea steep for a good 5 minutes.
- Remove the bag and let it cool to a room temperature.
- Place the bag against your sore gums for around 15 minutes.
- Rinse your mouth with clean water.
- Repeat daily for as long as necessary.
8) Sesame Oil
Oil pulling is a traditional Ayurvedic treatment for gum swelling and other oral complaints. It can help to reduce bacterial growth in the mouth, prevent infection and strengthen the teeth and gums.
- Get a tablespoon of your sesame oil and put it into your mouth.
- Swish it about for 10 minutes or so but be careful not to swallow any of it.
- Spit it out and rinse thoroughly with salt water.
- Brush your teeth normally to get rid of the after taste and any oil residue.
- Repeat once every evening.
9) Vitamin D
Vitamin D supplements or vitamin D from a food source can help relieve gum pain and swelling. It has natural anti-inflammatory properties which can help ease swelling and prevent recurrence.
Try eating plenty of vitamin D rich foods like eggs, salmon, sunflower seeds and fish oil. If you find it difficult to get sufficient vitamin D into your diet, you can use a supplement.
As well as the natural remedies we have mentioned there are some other points worth noting.
- Good nutrition can help ease gum damage.
- Make sure you brush properly and floss regularly.
- Replacing your toothbrush every few months can make a difference, make sure you use a brush with soft bristles to avoid irritation to the gums. Make sure you do not brush too roughly.
- Avoid smoking and drinking too much alcohol.
- Visit your dentist on a regular basis.