Most people take care of their teeth, but very few pay attention to their gums. Swollen gums are a common problem that occurs due to various causes.
When your gums swell, they bulge out or protrude. They become irritated, sensitive, and painful. According to a recent report by CDC, 47.2% of adults suffer from periodontal disease, which can cause this problem.
The pain can range in severity, sometimes distracting you from everyday chores. You may also notice gum inflammation around one tooth. However, there are many solutions available to manage gum problems.
Find out more about the natural treatments for swollen gums and some preventive steps to avoid such a problem.
What are the causes of swollen gums?
Numerous issues can lead to swollen gums, most leaning towards oral health. Here are some potential causes which cause gum inflammation:
Gingivitis is a gum disease that occurs when a film of plaque or bacteria collects around the teeth. It further causes inflammation, swelling, and irritation in the gums. Gingivitis is one of the most common conditions for swollen gum.
If you are suffering from gingivitis, you might experience mild pain or sensitivity. However, leaving this gum disease untreated can develop into a severe infection called periodontitis. According to World Health Organization (WHO), severe periodontitis affects nearly 10% of the global population.
Here are a few more symptoms that indicate you are suffering from periodontitis:
- Bad breath that persists even after cleaning
- Foul taste in the mouth
- Sensitive teeth
- Teeth loss
- Red and painful gums
- Bleeding gums
2. Food particles
Food particles stuck in your teeth can also be a cause of swollen gums. For example, while eating hard food that you cannot chew properly, it can get stuck between teeth or lodges in the gums.
The area where the food particle is stuck can experience swelling and irritation. It can also speed up the tooth decay process. However, swollen gums caused by food particles can be easily treated by brushing your teeth and flossing.
If an infection occurs in your mouth, it can lead to swollen gums. An infected tooth can spread the disease to your gums, causing inflammation to occur.
A tooth abscess happens when pus builds up and forms inside your gums and teeth. It arises due to a bacterial infection and spreads inside the soft tissue of your gums.
Cranker sores or mouth ulcers are also the typical culprits behind swollen gums. They can appear anywhere in the mouth, including gums. You can have one mouth ulcer at a time, affecting only one area or multiple sores throughout your mouth. Bacteria or viral infections usually cause them.
You can also suffer from oral thrush, a yeast infection in the mouth that can cause symptoms of swelling.
Chronic infections such as herpes may also lead to complications in your gum.
4. Hormonal changes in women
Women who are going through hormonal changes during pregnancy, menstruation, menopause, and puberty can suffer from swollen gums. This can increase blood flow to the gums, making them red, sensitive, and swollen.
If you are suffering from menstrual gingivitis, your gums can become prominently red and most likely bleed immediately before every menstrual period. However, these problems subside once the period begins.
In pregnancy, hormones cause rapid and significant changes in the body, affecting your oral health.
5. Other causes
Several other health issues can cause swollen gums, which are also less common like:
- Side effects from certain medications
- Poorly fitted dentures, crowns or braces
- Sensitivity to oral products such as toothpaste
- Use of tobacco
In each case, your doctor will carefully examine the cause of swollen gums and provide treatment accordingly.
Natural treatment and relief
Swollen gums can transition into a severe oral infection when not treated promptly. For those who cannot go to the dentist, several natural treatments provide quick relief.
Here are nine natural treatments that are effective for curing swollen gums at home:
Saltwater rinses are one of the best treatments available at home. It relieves pain from the gum and cleans your mouth thoroughly. The salt added to the water prevents the growth of bacteria. It also gets rid of those already growing in your mouth.
You can make yourself a saltwater rinse by warming a cup of water; don’t let it come to a boil. Add one tsp of salt to it.
When gargling, swish the saltwater in your mouth and rinse well for a few seconds before spitting it out in the sink. Keep in mind that you don’t swallow the water.
You can perform saltwater rinses at least twice a day.
Ginger has anti-inflammatory properties that promote healthy tissue in the mouth. It also contains antioxidants and is considered to be a healing herb.
- To make a coarse paste:
- Crush and mash the ginger.
- Add salt to it and rub the paste on the swollen parts of your gums.
- Leave it on for at least 10-12 minutes before rinsing your mouth with normal water.
You can apply this paste 2-3 times a day on the affected area.
3. Essential oils
Essential oils possess therapeutic benefits, especially for oral health. Here are two essential oils that can bring relief to swollen gums.
Tea tree oil has natural antibiotic and anti-inflammatory properties. Along with painful gums, you can also use them for other oral ailments.
Mix a few drops of tea tree oil into the water and use it as a mouthwash. A toothpaste that contains tea tree oil can also work effectively.
Clove oil is known to be essential for oral health. It treats infections with its antimicrobial properties. Clove is also an analgesic, meaning it will provide relief from any pain you experience in the gums.
Do not use the oil undiluted as it can lead to irritation and toxicity. You can dilute it by adding two to three drops of clove oil to a neutral carrier oil like olive or canola oil. You can then dab the oil mixture on the affected area with a tissue or cotton swab.
4. Aloe vera gel
The aloe vera plant is an antioxidant-rich plant that can help relieve gum inflammation.
You can either use a mouthwash that contains aloe vera as an active ingredient. Or you can extract the gel directly from the plant and apply it to your gums. Swish it in your mouth for a few minutes before spitting it out.
Turmeric is a famous spice that contains anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. This study found out that a turmeric gel can effectively reduce symptoms of gingivitis.
To make a paste at home, you will need ¼ teaspoon of turmeric, which you can add in very little water. Mix them till you get a paste.
Apply the paste on your affected gums and leave it on for 5 minutes. You can rub it on your gums by using gentle massage motions. Rinse your mouth with water thoroughly.
You can repeat this process every day for 1-2 weeks or until you don’t experience pain anymore. Alternatively, you can also brush your teeth with toothpaste or powder that has turmeric as an ingredient.
6. Hydrogen peroxide
Hydrogen peroxide acts as an agent to kill germs and reduce symptoms of gum inflammation.
Mix equal parts of hydrogen peroxide and water. Use the mixture and swish it in your mouth for about 20 seconds.
Spit the solution and rinse your mouth with warm water.
You can make a paste of hydrogen peroxide and baking soda as well. Apply the paste to your mouth and wait for a few minutes before rinsing it off.
7. Tea bags
A tea containing astringent properties such as black tea, green tea, or hibiscus tea can treat painful and swollen gums. Additionally, you can also use a tea having anti-inflammatory properties such as ginger, turmeric, or chamomile.
Just like the process of making tea, soak the tea bag for 5 minutes. Let the bag cool off for some time before applying it to the affected area.
8. Warm and cold compress
A warm and cold compress is an easy way to relieve pain in your gums.
To make a hot compress, heat water but don’t bring it to a boil. Grab a clean cloth and gently soak it in the water. Then, squeeze off the excess water and place it on your face, specifically the area causing gum pain.
To make a cold compress, use an ice pack and wrap it around a clean cloth. Apply it to the area affected.
You can take turns using hot and cold compress until the swelling goes down.
9. Over-the-counter pain killers
If you want to relieve pain instantly, you can try pain relievers such as ibuprofen or aspirin. For best results, combine the pain killers with natural treatments.
Preventing swollen gums
Various home care habits can be adopted, which will prevent you from getting swollen gums in the future such as:
- You can brush twice a day and floss every day. Good oral hygiene is a strong defense against problems such as gingivitis.
- Stick to a toothpaste or mouthwash that is suitable for your gums.
- Avoid tobacco products
- Avoid alcoholic beverages as they can irritate your gums
- Take care of your nutrition by incorporating fruits and vegetables into your diet
- Stay away from sugary drinks and hard food
Swollen gums occur due to several reasons. You can treat mild pain in swollen gums effectively through natural treatments. These treatments are safe, inexpensive, and offer relief.
However, if the pain in the gums persists for too long or becomes severe, you must immediately visit a dentist.
If you need to see a professional for gum disease treatment, you can request an appointment with Laguna Vista Dental. Besides offering solutions to gum-related problems, they can also help you with many oral- health-related issues.