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What To Do About Gum Swelling

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Medically Reviewed By Colgate Global Scientific Communications

Swollen gums are a common problem, and can have a number of different causes. If you are suffering from gum swelling that lasts longer than a few days, you should contact your dental professional. While you wait for your appointment, there are a few things you can do to alleviate the severity of the swelling and discomfort.

Consider Possible Causes

Accordingकमद to the Indian Dental Association swollen gums defines any condition related to gum disease.

Simply stated, if your gums are puffy, inflamed, or enlarged, you can say that your gums are swollen.  Under most circumstances, this swelling will involve several of the triangle shaped areas of the gums between the teeth called papillae. The swelling itself is often a result of an accumulation of white blood cells and fluids that are reacting to irritation and inflammation caused by bacteria and plaque along the gum line.

It only takes a couple of hours for bacteria to form plaque and only a couple of days for that plaque to harden into tartar.

Swollen gums can originate from number sources, the most common of which are infection from a virus or fungus, Gingivitis, poorly fitting dentures, side effect of medication, malnutrition, Vitamin C deficiency (scurvy) and bacteria build-up.

There are many other possible causes and contributors to gum inflammation, so discussing your symptoms with your dentist is the best way to get an accurate and complete diagnosis.

Find Relief

There are a number of things you can do, and a few things you should not do, to ease your discomfort and decrease the swelling in your gums, according to the American Dental Association.


  • Brush and floss regularly. If the root cause of your gum swelling is gingivitis, good oral hygiene is the first step to recovery.
  • Improve your diet. Add some extra fruits and vegetables to your diet, and avoid caffeinated beverages and sodas for a while.
  • Rinse your mouth with a salt water solution. This can ease the pain of inflamed gums.
  • See your dentist! Be sure to make an appointment if your gum irritation persists. A dental professional can determine the exact cause of the swelling and help you improve the health of your teeth and gums faster.


  • Don't continue to use toothpastes and mouthwashes that irritate your gums. Mouthwash that contains alcohol may irritate swollen gums. Change your toothpaste if you find it is hurting the affected area.
  •  Don't use alcohol and tobacco, since both those substances can irritate your gums further.
  • Don't ignore the problem. Begin taking action to help reduce the swelling and see a professional to ensure the swelling in your gums isn't a symptom of something more serious.