Swollen gums


What is gum swelling?

The gums are very important for the health of the mouth.

Gums consist of a pink mucosa that covers the jaws.

This fabric is:

  • Thick
  • rich in fibres,
  • Crossed by many blood vessels.

If the gums swell, you feel pain.

The swelling arises where the mucous membrane touches the tooth.

When it is swollen and inflamed, it turns red.

Causes of gum swelling and gingivitis

The most common causes of gum swelling are:

The oral mucosa bleeds more easily when the teeth are brushed.


Gingivitis is the most common cause of gum swelling.

Gingivitis causes:

  • Irritation
  • Swelling.

Many people have gingivitis, but they are not aware of it because the symptoms are very minor.

If left untreated, gingivitis can lead to tooth loss.

Often gingivitis is the result of poor oral hygiene.

If the teeth are not brushed, plaque forms at the gum edges.

Plaque consists of a film of bacteria and food particles that settle under the teeth.

If the plaque remains on the tooth for many days, it becomes tartar, which is an accumulation of lime salts.

Tartar cannot be removed with:

  • toothbrush and toothpaste,
  • Dental floss.

Tartar can cause gingivitis.


Gum swelling may occur:

  • During pregnancy,
  • During lactation.

The hormones that the body makes during pregnancy can lead to increased blood flow to the gums.

The increased blood flow can cause irritation of the gums, leading to swelling.

Other, less common causes of gum swelling include:


Vitamin deficiencies (especially of vitamins B and C) can cause gum swelling. Vitamin C plays an important role in keeping teeth and gums healthy.

If the vitamin C content is very low, the person concerned may develop scurvy. Scurvy can lead to anemia. In richer countries, malnutrition is a rare disease that occurs mainly in the elderly.


Infections are mainly caused by fungi and viruses.

They can cause swelling of the gums. The herpes virus can cause stomatitis herpetica.

Symptoms of stomatitis herpetica include:

  • Ache
  • swelling of the gums,
  • Fever
  • Swallowing.

If the Candida yeast fungus (which is naturally in the mouth) grows excessively, it results in a yeast infection, the so-called thrush.

Other infections that can cause gum swelling include:

  • sore throat (viral strep throat),
  • Tonsillitis.

The infection can also lead to enlarged lymph nodes.


Swelling on the gums can also be caused by an abscess.

An abscess is an accumulation of pus between the mucous membrane and the tooth.

In most cases, an abscess is caused by an infection of the gums.

The dentist:

  • takes an X-ray for diagnosis,
  • Prescribes an antibiotic to treat the infection,
  • Can make an incision and drainage of the pus, as well as devitalization,
  • May advise tooth extraction in severe cases.


Fixed braces prevent the removal of plaque and tartar that can cause swelling on the gums.

Gingivitis after tooth filling

In some cases, a tooth filling can cause swelling on the gums, either from the pressure of the dentist’s instruments or from tooth decay located near the gums.

Milk teeth in children

The eruption of the first milk teeth in children can cause gum swelling and inflammation.

Gum shrinkage

Periodontitis (or pyorrhea) is a disease that affects the gums and supporting tissues of the tooth. It can cause the gums to swell, darken and retract from the tooth.

Causes of gum swelling and bleeding gums

Wisdom tooth

The causes that cause swelling also include the growth or infection of a wisdom tooth. These teeth are the back ones in the mouth: the third molars.

After pulling, the gums bleed and swell.

Teeth cleaning

When cleaning teeth, the dentist must remove plaque and tartar.

He uses dental instruments in the area of the gum line, and this can cause:

  1. mucosal injuries,
  2. Bleeding
  3. Inflammation and swelling.

As a rule, these symptoms disappear spontaneously after a few hours.

Gums and hormones

Some women have problems with the gums during:

  • puberty,
  • Der Menstruation,
  • pregnancy,
  • The menopause.

The increase in hormones (androgens, estrogens, progesterone) during puberty can lead to increased blood flow to the gums.

The consequences are:

  • Reddening
  • Swelling
  • Increased sensitivity.

In women with menstrual gingivitis, the gums turn red, swell, and bleed before each menstrual cycle.

Once menstruation has occurred, the symptoms pass again.

Gestational gingivitis begins in the second or third month of pregnancy and persists until the eighth month. It causes.

  • Irritation
  • Swelling
  • Bleeding of the oral mucosa.

The birth control pill can cause similar problems on the gums.

During menopause, the gums become dry, painful, and may bleed.

Tumors and chemotherapy

Leukemia can lead to swollen and dark gums.

Chemotherapy has various side effects such as:

  • Ache
  • Swelling
  • Bleeding gums.

Many people undergoing cancer therapy suffer from stomatitis, ulcers and painful sores in the mouth and gums.

Gums and smoking

Cigarettes harm the gums. Often smokers develop gum disease.

Smoking causes many problems on the gums:

  • Hypersensitivity
  • Bleeding
  • Wounds
  • Ache.

Symptoms of gingival swelling and bleeding gums

The most common symptoms that can occur along with swelling are:

  • Bleeding
  • Red/dark red gums,
  • Wounds
  • gum pain and toothache,
  • gum shrinkage,
  • Ulcers with white or yellow center.

Symptoms of serious illness

In some cases, gum swelling occurs along with other symptoms that may be caused by a serious medical condition. If the following symptoms are observed, the emergency doctor must be notified:

  • swallowing disorders,
  • Shortness of breath
  • High fever (above 38.5 °C),
  • Severe bleeding gums.

What should you do? How is a

Treating gum swelling and bleeding gums

Drug therapy

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen (dolormin) or ketoprofen (alrheumun) and aspirin or analgesics such as acetaminophen reduce the pain and inflammation caused by swelling.


In case of infection or abscess, the doctor prescribes antibiotics. The most commonly prescribed drug is amoxicillin (Amoxypen).

For gingivitis or bleeding gums, the doctor may recommend a mouthwash containing antibiotics, for example, chlorhexidine (Curasept).

Cleaning gums:

  • use toothbrush and toothpaste,
  • floss,
  • Carefully clean the mouth without injuring the gums,
  • Repeated rinsing with salt water to disinfect the mouth of bacteria,

Effective tips:

  • Drink plenty of water: Water stimulates saliva production. Saliva contains a substance called lysozyme, which has antibacterial properties.
  • avoid irritants (tobacco, alcohol and mouthwash),
  • Cold facial compresses reduce gum pain. A cold poultice reduces swelling.

Natural remedies for gum swelling and bleeding gums


After the hands have been carefully cleaned, massage the gums with an ice cube for 5 minutes. The nerves transmit only one sensory message at a time. With the massage, the nerves transmit the feeling of cold instead of pain.


Pain in the gums and tooth should be treated like a bruise. Placing an ice pack on your cheek or sucking an ice cube in your mouth helps relieve pain and swelling.

Brush your teeth, at least twice a day.

Eating a balanced diet

A balanced diet rich in vitamin C and calcium reduces the likelihood of developing gum discomfort.

Drink plenty of water

After eating, water washes away the food that is stuck between the teeth. This prevents plaque and tartar formation.

Hot or cold dishes

Avoid very hot or very cold foods and drinks. If you have gum problems, you should eat lukewarm food and drinks at room temperature.


Stress increases cortisol secretion (a hormone produced in the adrenal gland). This increases the likelihood of inflammation of the gums.


It is recommended to gargle twice a day with a mixture of lemon juice and water.

This old home remedy relieves swelling after the first applications.

You can also mix lemon juice with rosehip extract and use it 2 – 3 times a day.

Water and bicarbonate

One can rinse your mouth with a mixture of hot water and a tablespoon of bicarbonate to relieve gum swelling. This proven home remedy provides temporary relief.

What should you use for gargling?

An aloe vera gel reduces bleeding gums and pain. Gargling with aloe vera reduces swelling of the gums. Alternatively, tea tree oil can be used.

Prevention of gum swelling and bleeding gums

Toothbrush recommendations

The oral mucosa is a delicate tissue and improper brushing can injure the gums.

When buying a toothbrush (manual or electric), make sure it has soft nylon bristles.

On the market there are many toothbrushes with hard bristles. These can:

  • damage the enamel,
  • Redden the gums.

Avoid irritants

Commercially available mouthwash and toothpaste can irritate teeth and gums.

In case of hypersensitivity to alcohol or other ingredients, you should change the mouthwash / toothpaste.

Tobacco products can also irritate the gums.

One should find a way to quit smoking.

There are nicotine-based products that help to become independent of smoking.

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