Swollen Gums Treatments: What Are the Causes of an Inflamed Gum Around a Tooth?

Comprehensive dental examination. Dentist doing examp with hook and mirror - selective focus - close up
04 Apr 2018

Whether you notice that your gums are red and puffy around one tooth or all of your gums seem inflamed, dealing with swollen gums is never fun. While most of our oral hygiene efforts seem focused on cleaning teeth, the truth of the matter is that your gums need their fair share of care and attention as well. So what causes gum inflammation, and which swollen gums treatment options are available? Let’s take a closer look.

Identifying the Culprit

As with other dental problems, the most common cause that contributes to swollen or inflamed gums is inadequate dental hygiene. If you aren’t brushing and flossing properly, you put yourself at much greater risk of experiencing swollen gums.

Quite often, the problem starts with gums that appear red and swollen. You might even notice some bleeding when you floss or brush your teeth. Tender, inflamed and bleeding gums are not normal findings. This indicates that bacterial buildup has contributed to decay and inflammation. While this often starts in one area, it can quickly escalate into a more widespread form of gum disease that affects much of the mouth. When this occurs, your teeth may become loose as the gums pull away from the tooth, resulting in a more active and irreversible type of gum disease.

A lack of brushing isn’t the only possible way you can irritate your gums. Brushing too aggressively can have a negative impact, particularly if you use a hard-bristled brush. Forcing floss between your teeth can also hurt the gums and cause them to become swollen.

However, you can’t always control the factors that irritate your gums. Many women experience gingivitis during pregnancy because of their changing hormones. Individuals suffering from a canker sore may also experience swollen gums as an associated symptom.

Swollen Gums Treatment

It shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that many of the best ways to treat your swollen gums are the same methods that are used to keep your teeth healthy. Start by brushing twice a day and flossing minimum of once, being careful to avoid aggressive cleaning methods that could aggravate the gums. Using the proper techniques can make all the difference.

Improving your diet can also make a difference. A diet high in Vitamin C and calcium will strengthen your gums and help prevent inflammation. In addition, you should also drink plenty of water during the day and after meals, as this helps wash away harmful bacteria.

Be mindful that new braces or a retainer, as well as certain types of medications, can also cause swollen gums. If you think other treatments are adversely affecting your gums, it may be a good idea to consult with your dentist.


As with other dental issues, it’s much easier (and far less painful) to adopt healthy oral hygiene habits now so swollen gums never become a problem in the first place. By brushing, flossing, using appropriate adjuncts, and visiting your dentist for dental cleanings on a regular basis, you can enjoy a healthy, pain-free smile.


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