If the gums swell, there are usually harmless causes behind it. Nevertheless, it is important to diagnose and treat possible gingivitis or other related diseases early on. If the symptoms persist over a longer period of time without a plausible cause being found, it is advisable to visit the dentist.
There are a number of possible causes for swollen gums. If the oral hygiene is inadequate or even excessive, swelling can occur as well as during pregnancy or temporarily after treatment by the dentist. However, serious gum diseases such as periodontitis can also be the cause.
Possible triggers for swollen gums are:
- Trauma (caused by a dental accident or injury)
- nocturnal gnashing of teeth
- Cysts/ Granulomas
- Gingivitis/Parodontitis as a Cause of Swollen Gums
In the early stages of gum disease we speak of so-called gingivitis. It is usually painless. If this inflammation progresses to the jawbone, it is called periodontitis.
This chronic inflammation of the gums is caused by bacteria and manifests itself not only in swelling but also in a reddish coloration of the gums. Gum bleeding and protruding gums can also occur. In addition, symptoms such as bad breath and secretion formation can occur. Periodontitis must be treated by the dentist, otherwise it can progress and even lead to tooth loss in the long term.
Oral hygiene as a cause of swollen gums
Inadequate oral hygiene can also trigger swollen gums in the second step if it leads to inflammation of the gums.
If harmful bacteria contained in the plaque attack the gums and cause inflammation, gingivitis can develop, leading to periodontitis, which can include swollen and red gums.
Similarly, excessive oral hygiene can cause swelling if too much pressure is exerted on the gums with a toothbrush.
Swollen gums after dental treatment
Especially after a major treatment, such as wisdom tooth removal or root canal treatment, the gums can become inflammatory and swell. However, complaints of this kind are usually temporary and completely normal. If they do not subside by themselves after a few days, the dentist should be consulted again.
Swollen gums in babies and during pregnancy
Swelling of the gums also occurs in children and babies. When the first teeth appear at the age of about six months, this causes tension in the jawbone, which can lead to swelling of the gums, which can be accompanied by itching, pain and sometimes even fever.
Likewise, pregnancy can lead to swollen gums and bleeding, mainly due to changes in hormone levels, which result in more blood being supplied to the oral mucosa than before. Because the actually firm tissue structure becomes looser and bacteria can penetrate more easily, this increases the risk of gingivitis and associated swelling.
Aphthae as the cause of swollen gums
These unpleasant damages can occur in various parts of the oral cavity, such as the gums, the inside of the lips, the palate, the tongue and the tonsils. Aphthae usually have a milky colour, surrounded by an inflammatory red border. Aphthae can cause severe pain, burning and itching.
Aphthae can develop from various causes, but their development is not fully understood. Genetic factors can also play a role in the inflammation, as can the psyche of the affected person. A weak immune defence, sometimes caused by stress, can promote the development of aphthae.
Possible causes for aphthae are also:
- Food intolerances
- viral infection
- intestinal diseases
- hormonal situation
- uncomfortably sitting dentures and braces
- toothbrush too hard or wrong toothpaste
- severe immune disorders such as HIV
Treatment of swollen gums
If the gums swell despite good care, it is necessary to consult the dentist as a precaution to possibly cure gingivitis as early as possible before it spreads.
The dentist can treat gingivitis by first removing plaque and tartar and then using an antibacterial mouth rinse. To prevent bacteria and harmful germs from settling in your mouth and gums even after treatment, your dentist will be happy to give you many useful tips on how to care for your teeth at home.
If periodontitis, i.e. chronic gum inflammation, has already developed, the dentist will draw up a comprehensive therapy plan. The aim is to stop the inflammation and to permanently preserve the damaged tissue (and thus also the teeth in the long term). This can often be achieved with basic therapy, but depending on the individual case, periodontal surgery may also be necessary.
What you can do against swollen gums yourself
The most important requirement for preventing swollen gums is regular and careful oral hygiene. The choice of products used is also relevant: a toothbrush with not too hard bristles, a mild toothpaste without roughening chemical additives and special antibacterial mouth rinses are recommended. For the thorough cleaning and care of your teeth, it is also advisable to make regular appointments for professional tooth cleaning.