Inflamed and puffy gums can be very painful and cause a lot of discomfort. Also, they are usually symptomatic of more serious problems. Here is all that you need to know about swollen gums.
What causes inflamed gums?
Swelling in the gums is very painful and can happen due to a large number of reasons. Here are some of the most common causes:
- The most common cause of swelling is gingivitis. This happens when plaque forms on your teeth, and it gradually hardens to form tartar. It is actually very easy to tackle gingivitis if you maintain a good oral hygiene right from the beginning. This is because plaque formation happens only when food accumulates on the teeth, making a nice feast for the bacteria.
- Unless gingivitis is treated immediately, the gum infection can progress to the other parts of the mouth, causing a condition known as periodontitis. Remember that it is very easy to miss gingivitis in case the symptoms are mild.
- Swelling and inflammation of the gums can also occur due to a number of viral or fungal infections, including common cold.
- During pregnancy, there are many changes in the hormonal conditions in your body, which may lead to an increased blood flow to your gums, thus causing irritation and swelling. Gum swelling can also result from infections caused by reduced immunity due to the hormones.
- It may take some time for your teeth and gums to adjust to your new dental fixture, like braces, leading to swelling and inflammation. If they don’t subside soon, consult your dentist immediately to prevent an infection.
- Puffy gums may also result as an allergic reaction to some dental product or a food item that you may have eaten.
- Then of course there is the obvious gum injury, which may result due to some not so obvious causes, like rupture of blood vessels inside the gums.
- Swollen gums may also result from malnutrition. Deficiency of vitamins B and C can cause serious harm to your oral health. Sore and bleeding gums can also be symptomatic of scurvy.
Symptoms of puffy gums
Some of the common symptoms of swollen gums are:
- Bleeding from the gums, which may be due to a number of reasons, from internal rupture to scurvy
- Redness and swelling from inflammation or abrasions due to fixtures like braces
- Pain, which can be anything from mild to strong
- Increase in the space between teeth due to swollen gums around tooth
- Bad breath, which is always symptomatic of bad oral health
How to get rid of gum pain and heal inflamed gums?
Listed below are some common and efficient home remedies to fix swollen and inflamed gums and get fast relief.
1. Warm and cold compresses
This is a very comfortable way of getting relief from pain quickly and to reduce gum swelling. All you need to do is take some time out of your schedule and relax before proceeding. Before beginning, wrap a towel around frozen peas and keep it aside (take care that the peas do not become warm). Now, soak a piece of clean cloth in warm water and wring out the excess liquid. Taking care that the heat would not cause damage, hold the cloth against your face. Put it down after 5 minutes and take up the towel with the frozen peas. Again hold it for 5 minutes or till your skin starts feeling numb. Now repeat the whole cycle once or twice as per your requirement.
2. Salt water
Salt is one of the best natural antibacterial agents available, and it comes to the rescue of puffy gums as well. Salt is very effective in neutralizing the pH of your mouth, thus making the oral environment unsuitable for bacterial growth. It also helps you in dealing with many other oral health problems.
- All you need to do is to rub your gums with salt for a few seconds once a day after brushing your teeth. Rinse it off with warm water. Once your gums return to normal, do this thrice weekly to prevent future occurrences.
- You can also rinse your mouth twice a day by adding ½ to 1 teaspoon of salt to a glass of lukewarm water. Do this twice or thrice daily, and also after each meal.
However, remember that in case the swelling is bad, or the pain is due to something serious, this would give only temporary relief.
Turmeric, like salt, is another broad spectrum natural anti-bacterial agent. The curcumin contained in it acts as an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agent, thus helping with gum pain relief, swelling and inflammation in addition to killing the bacteria. It also helps in fast healing.
- Prepare a paste by mixing ¼ teaspoon of turmeric powder to a little water. Clean your finger before applying the paste on your gum. After letting it remain for 5 minutes, gently massage your gums (without pressing hard) for a minute. Repeat this twice daily for a week or two.
- Make a paste with 1 teaspoon of turmeric powder, ½ teaspoon of salt and ½ teaspoon of mustard oil. Put this on the swollen area and let it remain for 10-12 minutes. Wash your mouth with water after that and repeat this twice daily.
- You can also mix a teaspoon of baking soda with a pinch of turmeric and use it to massage your gums with clean fingers. Rinse your mouth after this with clean water. Only the baking soda can also be used to brush your teeth.
4. Aloe vera
Not only does it come with anti-inflammatory properties which help with puffy gums treatment, but its antibacterial properties also act against some bacteria which cause plaque. And plaque comes with serious tooth and other oral problems. So you can use this even for the general well-being of your teeth. Start by taking out the gel after cutting open a leaf. Make sure that your finger is clean before rubbing the gel on the gums and massaging them for a minute or two. Rinse it off with warm water. Do this a number of times per day till you see that the condition has improved.
5. Black tea bags
The tannins present in black tea are great anti-inflammatory and antioxidant agents which not only help in reducing the pain but also in maintaining good oral health. To get on with it, soak a tea bag in boiling water for around 3 minutes. Then remove it and let it reach a temperature which you can bear. Hold it against the swollen gums for 10 to 15 minutes. Then rinse your mouth with a warm saline solution and repeat this once daily till the pain and swelling subside completely.
6. Tea tree oil
The antibiotic and anti-inflammatory components of tea tree oil help cure inflamed gums and reduce gum swelling. However, take care not to swallow the tea tree oil as your stomach may not like it.
- Prepare a mouthwash by adding a few drops of tea tree oil to a glass of warm water. Use this twice daily.
- Buy toothpaste which has tea tree oil as the main component. Brush your teeth with it to get relief.
Alum is a natural mineral that is a famous anti-bacterial agent. It is used for a wide range of purposes. It is also an excellent antiseptic and astringent which helps in killing germs and shrinking skin tissue, meaning that it is very effective against swollen and painful gums. To use this, grind the alum to make a fine powder. Add 1 teaspoon of it to a glass of warm water and rinse your mouth with this twice or thrice daily till the swelling subsides.
Some nutrients in lemon, like the vitamins A and C, pectin fiber, calcium and potassium are very good at maintaining oral health. In fact, lemon is the complete package when it comes to taking care of your teeth and gums, as it has anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties. Like turmeric, this is also an alkalizing agent which makes it difficult for bacteria to grow. There are many ways in which you can use lemon to treat swollen and inflamed gums.
- Mix the juice of a lemon to one glass of water and boil the solution. Gargle with this twice daily. You can also use just warm water in place of boiling water. In case you don’t like the taste of lemon in your mouth, use plain water to rinse it off.
- Mix lemon juice with the 2 to 3 drops of essential rose water and rinse your mouth with this twice or thrice daily.
- Add some salt to a lemon and apply it on the affected area. Keep it on for a few minutes before rinsing it off with warm water.
9. Clove oil
The Eugenol present in clove is an antioxidant and has anti-inflammatory properties which make it very useful for treating swollen and inflamed gums. As this is also an analgesic, it helps in getting rid of the pain soon.
- To half a teaspoon of olive oil, add 2 to 3 drops of clove essential oil. Now soak a ball of cotton in this mixture and dab the affected area with it. After that hold the ball against it for some time to get relief.
- Mix clove oil with black pepper and apply the mixture on the affected area.
- You can apply the clove oil directly on the affected area.
- Chewing cloves is a very old method to get rid of swollen and painful gums.
Do any of these every few hours till you get some relief.
10. Hydrogen peroxide
Hydrogen peroxide is great at reducing inflammation and pain in gums. It also helps in killing germs that cause oral health problems. However, take care to use only food grade 3 percent hydrogen peroxide for oral care. And DO NOT swallow the hydrogen peroxide.
- Prepare a mixture with equal parts of hydrogen peroxide solution and water. Swish it around the gums and teeth for 30 seconds before throwing it away. Then wash your mouth with warm water. Do this 2 or 3 times a week.
- Prepare a paste by adding the required amount of hydrogen peroxide to 1 teaspoon of baking soda. Then rub this on your gums gently. Keep it on for a minute before rinsing it off with water. Do this twice or thrice weekly.
However, remember that swelling and inflammation of gums is seldom something easy. The methods mentioned here are only for instantaneous relief. It is always advisable to immediately consult your dentist the moment you notice problems.