When suffering from gum disease, swollen gums is one of its most common and earliest signs. The CDC estimates that about half (46%) of adults aged 30 and above in America have some form of gum disease. In other words, swollen gums affect a sizeable population. Here are a few effective home remedies to relieve puffed and painful gums until you find a dentist.
What Are Swollen Gums?
Swollen gums stem from accumulation of excess fluid in the gingival soft tissue. Pain, redness, bleeding, soreness, itchiness, and ulcers often accompany gum swelling. Based on the cause, there could be a swollen gum around a tooth (sore or ulcer), or several teeth, as is the case in gingivitis and periodontitis.
What Causes Swollen Gums?
Several factors can cause swollen gums. Here are some of the common causes:
1. Poor oral hygiene
Poor oral hygiene is among the most common reasons for swollen gums. Irregular brushing and flossing can lead to the accumulation of plaque and bacteria, causing inflammation and swelling in the gums.
2. Gum disease
A bacterial infection, periodontal disease affects the gums and bone-supporting teeth. It can cause swelling, redness, and bleeding of the gums. If left untreated, it can lead to tooth loss.
3. Hormonal changes
Hormonal fluctuations during pregnancy, puberty, and menopause can cause swollen gums due to the increased blood flow to the gums and increased sensitivity to plaque and bacteria.
Certain medications, such as anti-seizure medications, immunosuppressants, and blood pressure medications, can cause swollen gums as a side effect.
5. Nutritional deficiencies
A deficiency in vitamin C, for example, can cause swollen and bleeding gums.
Tobacco, alcohol, and spicy foods can cause gum irritation and swelling.
Identifying the underlying cause of swollen gums is important to ensure proper treatment and prevent further dental problems.
What Are The Ways To Heal Swollen Gums?
Swollen gums feel uncomfortable and even painful. While you should consult a dentist if you have persistent or severe gum swelling, some swollen gums treatment at home may provide temporary relief:
1. Saltwater rinse
Mix half a teaspoon of salt in about 200-250 ml of warm water and swish it around in your mouth for 30 seconds before spitting it out. Repeat this a few times a day to help reduce gum swelling.
2. Tea tree oil
Dilute a drop of tea tree oil in one teaspoon of coconut oil or another carrier oil; apply it to the swollen gums with a clean finger or cotton swab. The antibacterial properties in tea tree oil may help reduce inflammation.
3. Aloe vera
Apply fresh aloe vera gel directly to the swollen gums. Aloe vera's anti-inflammatory properties can help reduce swelling and pain.
4. Turmeric paste
Mix a few drops of water with a teaspoon of turmeric powder, and apply it directly to the swollen gums. Turmeric has anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties that can help alleviate swelling and promote healing.
5. Cold compress
Wrap a cold, damp cloth around an ice pack and apply it to your cheek for 10-15 minutes to reduce inflammation and numb the area.
Remember, these home remedies are not a substitute for professional dental care. If your gum swelling persists or is accompanied by other symptoms such as bleeding or pus, talk to your dentist as soon as possible.