It seems unlikely that someone would ignore a hole in their tooth, so why do so many people shrug off swollen or bleeding gums? There are many reasons why your gums may be swollen, but it’s important to find out what is causing the complaint so that it doesn’t threaten your oral health further.
It’s likely that one of the more common causes of swollen gums is gingivitis. Gingivitis is a mild form of gum disease that is caused through poor oral hygiene. Plaque formation through lack of brushing occurs at the gum line, and in response gums become red and inflamed due to the bacteria. Gingivitis can lead to a worse condition called periodontitis, which is far more serious and may even result in tooth loss.[i]
Luckily, gingivitis is reversible through good hygiene. With proper brushing twice daily, and regular visits to the dentist and dental hygienist, problems can be reversed before they become too serious.
Another possible cause for gum swelling is that something may be stuck under your gumline. Some foods such as apple skin or popcorn kernels can easily find themselves lodged between teeth, and if these foreign bodies go beneath the gum line our bodies respond by causing the area to swell. In most cases flossing will be sufficient to dislodge any trapped food, but if the problem persists a visit to the dentist may be necessary.
Infections and vitamin deficiencies are also possible culprits behind swollen gums. Oral infections tend to cause both gum pain and the appearance of mouth sores, and these may require antibiotics to sort out. Insufficient intake of vitamin C and B vitamins can prevent the body fighting off any infections or bacteria effectively, and this can lead to swelling over time.[ii]
Do you have a denture or do you use an aligner? Perhaps you have a tooth that has moved slightly? All of these factors can also lead to swollen gums, and a visit to the dentist will identify these problems and offer a solution.
In the end, regardless of the cause, swollen gums are never a good thing. As such, if you are experiencing any painful or swollen gums you need to make a dental appointment as soon as possible. This way, whatever is the cause can be identified swiftly and measures can be taken to return you to optimal oral health.
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[i] Mayo Clinic. Gingivitis. Link: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/gingivitis/symptoms-causes/syc-20354453 [Last accessed August 19].
[ii] Prevention. 10 Reasons You Should Never Ignore Swollen gums, According to Doctors. Link: https://www.prevention.com/health/a28798983/swollen-gums/ [Last accessed August 19].