Author: Lizzie Smith – blog last updated on Wednesday 4th October 2023
Swollen gums are usually a sign that your gums are inflamed. It’s caused by the bacteria in plaque, which irritate the tissue. In response, your immune system sends extra blood to the area of infection, causing the gums to swell.
In this article, we look at the causes of swollen and inflamed gums. And, of course, how you can remedy it and, even better, prevent it in the future.
Causes of swollen gums
The leading cause of swollen and inflamed gums is plaque – the thin layer on your teeth that combines saliva, food residues and bacteria. The bacteria in plaque irritate the gums, so you must continuously remove it by brushing your teeth twice daily and flossing daily.
If you don’t remove plaque from your teeth, it will harden into tartar under the influence of minerals such as calcium from the saliva. Unlike clean tooth enamel, tartar is rough and porous, making it easier for plaque-containing bacteria to stick to your teeth.
Ultimately, the bacteria cause swollen, bleeding and irritated gums. Good daily oral hygiene and regular tartar removal are, therefore, essential to prevent inflamed and swollen gum infections.
Healthy gums are pink in colour and fit tightly to the teeth. Although the onset of gingivitis is not always noticeable, the swelling is a sign there are inflamed gums. In a later phase, the gums turn red. They may bleed when brushing your teeth and become sensitive and even painful. You may also get a bad taste in your mouth and bad breath caused by the gases the bacteria excrete.
Apart from good daily oral hygiene, some factors increase the risk of gum disease. For example, smoking, heavy alcohol drinking, an unhealthy diet and vitamin and mineral deficiencies. Medical issues can also increase the risk of swollen and inflamed gums, such as certain medications, diabetes and pregnancy. In addition, the gums can become irritated by trauma such as damage from a broken tooth, poorly fitting dentures or sharp corners of braces.
Treatment of swollen gums
If you’ve noticed your gums are swollen, you should act immediately. In this phase, you can successfully treat the gums and make them healthy again with the right products.
1. Brush and floss your teeth
You should brush your teeth twice daily to remove the plaque from your teeth and prevent it from becoming tartar. The ingredients of your toothpaste are also essential. Many toothpastes contain ingredients that disrupt the oral cavity’s natural balance and increase the mouth’s acidity.
A healthy and balanced oral flora is essential to keep your gums healthy. Therefore, choose mouth-friendly toothpaste such as JuliBrite Chewing Toothpaste or RyttPro Toothpaste Magic Mint. They remove plaque and harmful bacteria without affecting oral flora – the recipe for healthy gums, clean teeth and fresh breath!
Clean the spaces between your teeth with dental floss, toothpicks or toothbrushes. These are notorious places where plaque builds up, and swollen gums lurk.
If you want to rinse your mouth after brushing, flossing or brushing your teeth, pay attention to the ingredients of your mouthwash. A good mouthwash accelerates the healing of the gums. JuliBrite and RyttPro mouthwashes are effective (just like their toothpastes) but with respect for the oral flora. This contributes to healthy gums.
2. Remove tartar and massage your gums
Between visits to the dental hygienist, you can remove the supra-gingival (visible) tartar from your teeth yourself. You can do this with the Moist-R Whitening Sponge or the Profi Dental Hook. Read more about it here.
The Professional Dental Hook is a complete set of dental instruments. One of the ends of the brackets, a rubber tip, is intended to gently clean and massage the edge between the teeth and gums. This ensures better blood flow and more white blood cells to the inflamed area.
3. Buy a Healthy Gums Kit
You can still treat swollen gums and early gum infections yourself. A Healthy Gums Kit gives you everything you need in one go. Ensure the toothpaste and mouthwash don’t contain aggressive, harmful ingredients. The products must combat anaerobic bacteria effectively whilst respecting the rest of the oral flora.
This is possible with the RyttPro Healthy Gums Kit. The toothpaste and mouthwash are mild but effective and will help you quickly get your swollen gums healthy again. In addition to toothpaste and mouthwash, you’ll find two aids in the package: the mouthguard, which you can use to let the toothpaste work longer on the swollen gums. And the jaw injection, which allows you to spray mouthwash directly onto an irritated spot.
4. Clean your tongue
If you not only brush and floss your teeth daily but also clean your tongue, you’ll significantly reduce the amount of harmful bacteria in the mouth. To prevent inflamed and swollen gums, it helps to do this daily.
Don’t clean your tongue with your toothbrush, but with a tongue scraper or special tongue brush. It has fine, soft hairs suitable for the rough tongue tissue. It also helps you get to the back of your tongue, where most bacteria are found.
A combination of tongue brush and scraper is best. For example, the RyttPro Tongue Cleaner, a tongue scraper and tongue brush in one. You can make cleaning your tongue even more effective with RyttPro Oral Foam. This disinfects your tongue deep between the tongue papillae but with respect for the balance of the oral flora.
5. Tackle dry mouth complaints
Various factors can cause dry mouth. Common ones are the side effects of medications and medical treatments, illnesses and sleeping with your mouth open.
Whatever the cause, a shortage of saliva is always unfavourable for your oral health. Oxygen-rich saliva serves as the natural protection for your teeth against anaerobic bacteria. In the fight against swollen and inflamed gums, it’s, therefore, good to hydrate your mouth if this doesn’t happen (sufficiently) automatically.
Choose mouth-friendly toothpaste and mouthwash without harmful ingredients that further dry out and damage the oral mucosa. You can also moisturise your mouth with Moist-R Refreshing Tongue Spray, Moist-R Hydrating Chewing Gum or Moist-R Xylitol Tablets for Dry Mouth. These products contain xylitol, which is excellent for your teeth. It also hydrates the oral mucosa and stimulates saliva production with its fresh taste.
If you can’t get rid of your swollen gums with the above tips, consult your dentist or dental hygienist. You may need a dental cleaning; otherwise, they can see what’s happening and treat you appropriately. You should go to the dentist if you have more advanced gum disease.
Oral Health Foundation: Gum disease
British Dental Journal: Time to take gum disease seriously