Did you know that over three quarters of Americans over the age of 35 will suffer gum disease (also know as periodontal disease)? The majority of people who develop gum disease will develop gingivitis, which is the less serious form of the disease. However, up to 15% may develop periodontitis, a much more severe kind of gum disease. Bacteria in your mouth can cause problems if you don’t practice good dental hygiene. Bad dental hygiene causes the formation of plaque on your teeth. If this happens, the resulting inflammation can lead to bleeding, swelling or redness on and around your gums. Swelling can happen around one area, if you develop an ulcer or a sore. The swelling can be on your gum line (if you develop periodontitis or gingivitis). Depending on the cause, the sore can be around the entire gum.
What Are Some Of The Causes Of Swollen Gums?
• Periodontitis and gingivitis can both cause swollen gums. If you don’t keep up proper dental hygiene, you are at risk of developing a gum disease. Periodontitis is a serious condition that can even cause you to lose teeth. Gingivitis isn’t as severe and can be stopped if you catch it early enough, though prompt treatment is still recommended. If you are concerned that you might be suffering with Periodontitis or Gingivitis, please talk to your dentist.
• Not brushing properly. If you apply too much pressure to your teeth when you brush, you run the risk of damaging your gums. Your gums are more sensitive than you might realize. Try to avoid using a brush with hard bristles or brushing your teeth too hard, as both of these can cause irritation and make your gums swell.
• Not flossing properly. Flossing every day is important for taking care of food particles or plaque in areas that you can’t reach with your toothbrush. However, not flossing properly can cause damage in just the same way that over-enthusiastic brushing can. Avoid forcing the floss into your gums or pushing it too hard between your teeth.
• Medicine. If you find that despite following correct mouth hygiene and using the best techniques to avoid damage, you still have swollen gums, medication could be the cause of your problems. Certain medicines, for example some that are used to treat hypertension, can cause more fibrous tissue to grow around your gums. Excess fibrous tissue makes the gum seem swollen.
• Badly fitted prosthetic. If a crown, dental bridge, or partial denture doesn’t fit properly, it can cause swelling of the gums. If dentures and crowns are too tight they can irritate the gums and cause inflammation and swelling.
• Poor diet. A diet high in refined foods and those high in sugar is known to increase the risk of cavities and tooth problems, but did you know that it can also cause periodontal diseases? Eating high fiber foods such as raw vegetables and fruits that require chewing such as apples massages your gums and assists in strengthening them.
• Hormonal levels. Some hormones can cause more blood flow to the gums, which in turn causes them to become swollen. These include the hormones that are released in menopause, menstruation, puberty and pregnancy. Some birth control medications can cause more of these hormones to be released.
• Misaligned teeth. If you have teeth that are crowded together in your mouth, or are crooked, the chances of developing swelling around them is higher. It’s harder to keep up good hygiene when teeth are crooked, because it can be more difficult to brush around them. Misaligned teeth can lead to more bacterial growth.
• Irritants. It’s possible that you might have an allergy to an ingredient in food, metal dental restorations, toothpaste, or medicine. This can lead to swelling, redness and irritation of your gums. If this happens, think about whether you changed toothpaste brand around the time your symptoms started – if so, simply changing back could help.