People often associate a vibrant smile with good health and wellness. However, your teeth aren’t the only things you need to keep an eye on. You also need to monitor your gums.
Daniel Park, DDS, provides a comprehensive list of services at Beaumont Cherry Valley Dental, including general, restorative, cosmetic, and emergency care. If you have swollen gums, here’s when you should schedule an appointment at his practice in Beaumont, California.
When swollen gums are a problem
If you’ve noticed your gums appearing swollen, red, or even hiding parts of your teeth, you’re likely experiencing gum disease. Your gum tissue may also hurt, be sensitive, be irritated, or it may bleed more easily whenever you brush or floss your teeth.
Swollen gums can occur for a variety of reasons, and not all are serious. However, that doesn’t mean you should ignore this obvious sign of an issue.
Sometimes, gum tissue can swell because you have something stuck in your teeth or lodged in the soft tissue. However, when this is behind your symptoms, you can usually expect your symptoms to fade as soon as you remove the debris.
But if your symptoms persist, there could be an underlying problem.
Common causes of swollen gums
If your gums stay swollen for more than a few days, several things could be causing your symptoms.
A leading cause of swelling gums involves gum disease, and without treatment, this condition can lead to serious gum infections and put you at risk for numerous complications, including tooth loss.
Other signs of gum disease include:
- Bad breath or a foul taste in the mouth, even after brushing and flossing
- Pain while chewing
- Red, painful, bleeding, or receding gums
Gum disease can also cause teeth to feel loose or come out easily.
Chronic oral infections — such as oral thrush and herpes — can also lead to swelling in your gum tissue.
Untreated oral decay can also lead to tooth infections, which can lead to abscesses. When this occurs, it causes gum swelling in one spot.
Dental appliance issues
Do you have dentures, crowns, or bridges? They could be causing some swelling. This issue can arise if these dental appliances don’t fit properly or if they need adjusting.
In some cases, gum swelling may not have anything to do with your oral health. Instead, it can indicate nutritional imbalances, such as low levels of vitamins B and C. Generally speaking, this cause occurs less frequently in developed countries. However, when it does, it’s more common in older adults.
Swollen gums are also fairly common during pregnancy. In these cases, swelling typically develops because a surge in hormones increases blood flow to the gums. Not only does this lead to swelling, but it’s also common to have gums that get irritated more easily.
It’s also important to note that hormone changes can impact your ability to fight off bacteria, especially those that cause gum infections. As a result, Dr. Park recommends working closely with your dentist while pregnant to reduce your risk of developing gum disease.
Last but not least, it’s also possible to develop gum swelling because of certain ingredients in oral care products or medications.
What to do about swollen gums
First, you can often avoid developing swollen gums by practicing good oral hygiene and following a healthy diet. But, if symptoms still arise, you can try a few methods at home to ease your discomfort, such as:
- Avoiding irritants, such as alcohol, tobacco, and strong mouthwashes
- Brushing and flushing gently
- Rinsing with saltwater to eliminate bacteria
- Drinking plenty of water
- Applying a warm compress to reduce pain or a cold compress to ease swelling
However, if your symptoms don’t respond to these strategies, worsen, or last for more than two weeks, it’s time to schedule an appointment.
During your exam, Dr. Park can check your mouth for signs of a dental problem, discuss your symptoms, and get to the underlying cause.
After reaching a diagnosis, Dr. Parke can make personalized recommendations to ease your symptoms, including treating dental issues, such as gum disease, infections, and poorly fitting dental appliances.
Do you have swollen gums? A visit with Dr. Park can help get to the bottom of things. To learn more, call 951-845-2661 to book an appointment with Beaumont Cherry Valley Dental today.