Are you experiencing swollen gums? While it’s a common dental issue, there are several unexpected reasons that could be causing your discomfort. From poor dietary habits to hormonal changes, we’ve rounded up seven surprising causes of swollen gums that you need to know about. Keep reading to understand why your gums may be feeling tender and how you can take steps to prevent further inflammation.
Common Causes of Swollen Gums
Swollen gums can be a sign of many different things, from infection to inflammation to nutritional deficiencies. It’s important to pay attention to your gums and see a dentist if they are swollen, as this can be a sign of an underlying problem. Here are some surprising reasons for swollen gums that you need to know about.
Reason 1: Gingivitis
Gingivitis is one of the most common reasons for swollen gums. Gingivitis is an inflammation of the gums that can be caused by a build-up of plaque on the teeth. Plaque is a sticky film of bacteria that forms on the teeth and gums. If plaque is not removed, it can harden and become tartar. Tartar can irritate the gums and cause them to become swollen and inflamed. Gingivitis is usually reversible with good oral hygiene.
Reason 2: Poor Oral Hygiene
Swollen gums can be caused by a number of things, but one surprising reason is poor oral hygiene. If you don’t brush and floss regularly, plaque can build up on your teeth and gums, leading to irritation and inflammation. In addition, food particles that are left behind can also contribute to gum swelling. To prevent this from happening, be sure to brush at least twice a day and floss once a day.
Reason 3: Infections in the Mouth and Throat
There are many different infections that can cause swollen gums. The most common infection is periodontitis, which is an inflammation of the tissue that surrounds the teeth. This can be caused by a number of different bacteria, including Streptococcus mutants, Porphyromonas gingivalis, and Prevotella intermedia. Periodontitis can also be caused by viruses, such as herpes simplex virus or cytomegalovirus. Other infections that can cause swollen gums to include gingivitis (an inflammation of the gums), periodontal disease (a chronic inflammation of the tissues around the teeth), and dental abscesses (an accumulation of pus around the tooth).
Reason 4: Hormonal Changes
Hormonal changes are a common cause of swollen gums. This can be due to pregnancy, puberty, menopause, or taking certain medications. Hormones can cause the gum tissue to become more sensitive and susceptible to inflammation. If you notice your gums swelling during a time of hormonal change, be sure to talk to your dentist or healthcare provider.
Reason 5: Medications
Swollen gums can be a side effect of certain medications, such as:
-calcium channel blockers
If you are taking any of these medications and notice your gums are swollen, be sure to talk to your doctor or dentist. They may be able to adjust your dosage or switch you to a different medication.
Reason 6: Stress
If you’re experiencing swollen gums, stress could be the cause. When we’re stressed, our bodies produce cortisol, which can lead to inflammation. This inflammation can show up in our gums, causing them to swell. If you’re under a lot of stress, try to find ways to relax and reduce your stress levels. This can help reduce the swelling in your gums.
Reason 7: Vitamin Deficiencies
If your gums are swollen, it could be a sign of a vitamin deficiency. Vitamin C, B12, and folic acid are all essential nutrients for gum health. A lack of these vitamins can lead to inflammation and infection. If you suspect you may be deficient in one or more of these vitamins, talk to your doctor about supplementation.
Treatment for Swollen Gums
If your gums are swollen, the first thing you should do is schedule an appointment with your dentist. In the meantime, there are a few things you can do at home to help reduce the swelling.
Rinse your mouth with salt water. This will help to reduce inflammation and kill bacteria.
Avoid eating hard or crunchy foods. Stick to softer foods that are easy on your gums.
Gently brush your teeth twice a day with a soft-bristled toothbrush. Be careful not to brush too hard or you could irritate your gums further.
Use an antibacterial mouthwash to help control bacteria in your mouth and reduce gum inflammation.
Swollen gums can be a sign of an underlying oral health issue, which is why it’s important to pay attention to the signs. While poor dental hygiene and gum disease are common causes of swollen gums, there are other surprising reasons that you may not have considered. From hormonal changes to certain medications, being aware of these potential triggers can help you take proactive steps toward maintaining healthy teeth and gums. Taking care of your oral health now can prevent more serious complications in the future.
A: Gums may swell when brushing due to irritation from the toothbrush or because of gum disease.
A: To reduce the swelling in your gums, try using a softer toothbrush, rinsing with salt water, and massaging your gums gently with your fingers.