Help! My Gums Are Swollen

Sep 06, 2023
Help! My Gums Are Swollen
Causes of swollen gums can range from a stuck popcorn husk to medication side effects. However, gum sensitivity and swelling are often related to oral health problems. It’s never too early to call the dentist when your gums are swollen.

Your teeth probably get most of the attention when you think about your smile. However, the gums help hold your teeth in place, nourish tooth roots, and provide a protective barrier against harmful bacteria.

That’s why our team at Beaufils Dental considers gums as important as teeth when customizing oral health care needs. Healthy gums are a must, from preventing tooth decay to achieving a successful root canal to ensuring the natural appearance of dental implants.

Here’s what to know about the oral health conditions that might lead to gum swelling and how we can help.

What causes gum swelling?

Gum swelling may be related to a variety of issues, including:


The portion of your gums around the base of teeth is called the gingivae. Gingivitis is the earliest stage of gum (periodontal) disease.

Symptoms include gum inflammation, redness, and bleeding, often noticed when brushing or flossing. With gingivitis, gums also become puffy and tender and may begin to pull away from the teeth, creating pockets where infection can form.

Caused by plaque buildup on your teeth, gingivitis is preventable and relatively easy to treat with routine exams, professional cleanings, and appropriate oral hygiene.


This advanced form of gum disease causes a widespread infection that can damage the soft tissue and bone that supports your teeth. 

Periodontitis, evolving from untreated gingivitis, is a common cause of tooth loss in adults. Symptoms include gum inflammation, dark red or purplish gum irritation, and pain when chewing.


A gum abscess is a localized area of redness and tenderness caused by a bacterial infection. Abscesses may appear close to the teeth or anywhere along the gums and can involve tooth structures below the gumline.

Treatment typically includes antibiotics and correcting the underlying cause of the infection. Causes include plaque buildup, tooth decay, gum disease, and other conditions impacting oral health.

For instance, poorly managed diabetes increases your risk of gum abscesses and infections.

Improper brushing or flossing

Using a hard-bristled toothbrush or flossing too aggressively can lead to gum swelling and irritation. Our providers at Beaufils Dental typically recommend using a soft-bristled brush with rounded edges and brushing for 2-3 minutes twice daily.

Poorly fitting dental appliances

Braces, retainers, or dentures that don't fit properly can irritate your gums. That may include localized swelling and redness at the site of irritation that could eventually spread if not treated.

Treating swollen gums

While it's essential to consult a dentist for a proper diagnosis and treatment, you can try home remedies to alleviate gum discomfort until your Beaufils Dental visit.

For instance, applying a warm compress to the affected area for five minutes, followed by a cold compress for five minutes, may help reduce swelling and pain.

You may also benefit from a saltwater rinse — dissolve half a teaspoon of salt in 8 ounces of warm water and swish the solution in your mouth for 30 seconds.

Otherwise, treatment at Beaufils Dental starts with an exam to identify the underlying cause of gum swelling.

Based on evaluation results, your care strategy may include oral medications, antiseptic mouth rinses, and treatments such as deep dental cleanings to remove plaque. Advanced gum disease may also require surgical therapies to restore gum health.

Schedule an exam at Beaufils Dental today for more help treating and preventing swollen gums. Call the office in Cooper City, Florida, or request an appointment online.