Swollen Gums - Symptoms, causes and treatment

Swollen gums are a condition in which the gums protrude, become red, painful, and bleed easily. This condition generally occurs due to disease in the teeth or gums, but can also be caused by other conditions.

Swollen gums are a fairly common problem and easy to treat. However, late treatment can lead to serious complications. Therefore, swollen gums should not be ignored, especially if it has been going on for a long time.

Causes of Swollen Gums

The following are some of the diseases and conditions that can cause swollen gums:

  • Inflammation of the gums due to the buildup of dental plaque
  • Bacterial, viral, or fungal infection
  • Vitamin B deficiency
  • Vitamin C deficiency (scorbut)
  • Incompatibility with toothpaste or mouthwash
  • Food left between the teeth and gums

Risk factors for swollen gums

There are several conditions that can increase a person's risk of developing swollen gums, including:

  • Smoke
  • Consuming alcoholic beverages
  • Suffering from diabetes
  • Is pregnant
  • Using dentures or other dental devices
  • Not maintaining regular oral hygiene
  • Taking certain medications, such as birth control pills, corticosteroids, or anticonvulsants
  • Have a weak immune system, for example because you have HIV/AIDS

Symptoms of Swollen Gums

Swollen gums can occur in part or all of the gums. Generally, swelling begins in the gums that are adjacent to the teeth. The swelling can be large enough to cover the underside of the tooth that is usually visible.

Swollen gums can be accompanied by other complaints, such as:

  • Redness of the gums
  • Gum pain
  • Throbbing feeling in swollen gums
  • Bleeding from swollen gums, especially when brushing or flossing

When to go to the doctor

Swollen gums can usually be treated at home. However, if the gums are swollen and the accompanying symptoms do not subside for more than 1 week, do an examination to the dentist, especially if you have risk factors for swollen gums.

Swollen Gums Diagnosis

Diagnosis of swollen gums begins with asking questions related to the symptoms experienced. The doctor will also ask about the possibility of other conditions that can cause swollen gums, such as pregnancy, diabetes, or changes in diet.

After that, the doctor will perform a physical examination to see directly the condition of the gums. In this examination, the doctor can use: dental probe (a thin metal rod with a hook-like end) that can be inserted between the teeth.

If necessary, supporting examinations will also be carried out, for example dental X-rays (panoramic photos) to see the condition of the teeth and jaw, or blood tests to detect possible infection.

Swollen Gums Treatment

The method of treating swollen gums will be determined based on the cause and severity of the condition. For mild swollen gums, this condition can be treated independently at home.

Some methods of treatment that can be done at home are:

  • Gargle with saline water to remove bacteria in the mouth and reduce swelling
  • Compress the side of the face that has swollen gums with a warm compress to relieve pain, or a cold compress to reduce swelling
  • Gargle with mouthwash containing aloe vera to treat or prevent gingivitis
  • Drink more water to increase saliva production and can help weaken the bacteria that causes swollen gums

People with swollen gums still have to brush their teeth regularly, but with more care so that the gums don't bleed. In addition, avoid factors that can worsen swollen gums, such as smoking or consuming alcohol.

If within 1 week the swollen gums have not improved, medical treatment by a dentist is required. Treatment methods used by doctors include:

  • Giving special mouthwash or toothpaste that can reduce dental plaque
  • Repair of dentures or other dental devices
  • Administration of antibiotics

In addition, dental procedures can also be performed. One of the most frequently performed procedures is scaling and smoothing of the roots of the teeth. The procedure is done by scraping dental plaque and tartar on the roots of the teeth so that healthy gums can improve.

In severe cases, a surgical procedure to remove the tooth may be necessary.

Complications of Swollen Gums

Swollen gums caused by gingivitis can progress to periodontitis. In severe periodontitis, other complications can also occur, including:

  • Gum abscess
  • Gums down
  • loose teeth
  • Teeth fall out or fall out
  • Jaw bone damage
  • Sepsis

In pregnant women, periodontitis can increase the risk of premature birth or low birth weight in babies.

Swollen Gums Prevention

The main way to prevent swollen gums is to take care of your teeth and mouth regularly, and eat a healthy diet. Here are some ways this can be done:

  • Brushing teeth twice a day
  • Clean between teeth with dental flossdental floss), especially after eating
  • Gargle with mouthwash every day
  • Eat a balanced nutritious diet, especially those rich in vitamin C and calcium
  • Drink lots of water
  • Avoid smoking and consuming alcoholic beverages
  • Be careful when consuming foods and drinks that are too hot or cold
  • Avoid stress
  • Doing routine maintenance to the dentist every 6 months

Pregnant women are advised to have a dental check-up as soon as they are positive for pregnancy. In fact, it would be even better if the dental examination was carried out before pregnancy. That way, dental and gum problems that may exist can be treated early. After that, the teeth and gums can also be cleaned thoroughly by the dentist.