Swollen gums are a condition when the gums protrude, are 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 cause serious complications. Therefore, swollen gums should not be underestimated, especially if it has been happening for a long time.
Causes of Swollen Gums
The following are some diseases and conditions that can cause swollen gums:
- Inflammation of the gums due to the buildup of dental plaque
- Bacterial, viral or fungal infection
- Lack of B vitamins
- Vitamin C deficiency ( scurvy )
- Incompatibility of toothpaste or mouthwash
- Food left between the teeth and gums
Swollen gum risk factors
There are several conditions that can increase a person's risk of experiencing swollen gums, including:
- Consuming alcoholic beverages
- Have 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
- Having a weak immune system, for example due to suffering from HIV/AIDS
Symptoms of Swollen Gums
Swollen gums can occur in part or all of the gums. Generally, swelling starts on the part of the gum that borders the teeth. The swelling can be large enough to cover the bottom of the teeth that are usually visible.
Swollen gums can be accompanied by other complaints, such as:
- Redness of the gums
- gum pain
- Bad breath ( halitosis )
- A throbbing feeling in the swollen gums
- Bleeding from swollen gums , especially when brushing your teeth or flossing
When to see a 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 with the dentist , especially if you have risk factors for swollen gums.
Diagnosis of Swollen Gums
Diagnosis of swollen gums begins with asking questions regarding the symptoms experienced. The doctor will also ask about the possibility that there are other conditions that can cause swollen gums, such as pregnancy, diabetes, or dietary changes.
After that, the doctor will carry out a physical examination to see directly the condition of the gums. In this examination, the doctor may use a dental probe (a thin metal stick with a hook-like tip) 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 jaws, 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 treatment methods that can be done at home are:
- Gargle with salt water to get rid of 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
- Gargling with mouthwash containing aloe vera to treat or prevent inflammation of the gums
- Drink more water to increase saliva production and can help weaken the bacteria that cause swollen gums
Sufferers of swollen gums still have to brush their teeth regularly, but with extra care so that the gums don't bleed. In addition, avoid factors that can exacerbate swollen gums, such as smoking or consuming alcohol.
If within 1 week the swollen gums have not improved, medical treatment is needed by the dentist. Treatment methods used by doctors include:
- Giving special mouthwash, such as chlorhexidine , or toothpaste that can reduce dental plaque
- Repair of dentures or other dental devices
- Administration of antibiotics
In addition, dental treatment procedures can also be performed. One of the most frequently performed procedures is scaling and smoothing of the roots of the teeth. This procedure is carried out by scraping dental plaque and tartar on the roots of the teeth so that the gums that are still healthy can improve.
In conditions that are severe enough, surgical procedures to remove teeth may need to be done.
Complications of Swollen Gums
Swollen gums caused by gingivitis can develop into periodontitis . In severe periodontitis, other complications can also occur, including:
- Gum abscess
- Gums down
- Loose teeth
- Loose or dated teeth
- Jawbone damage
In pregnant women, periodontitis can increase the risk of premature birth or low birth weight in babies.
Prevention of Swollen Gums
The main way to prevent swollen gums is to maintain healthy teeth and mouth regularly, and eat a healthy diet. Here are some ways you can do this:
- Brush your teeth twice a day
- Choose a soft-bristled toothbrush and brush your teeth slowly
- Clean between the teeth with dental floss ( dental floss ), especially after eating
- Gargle with mouthwash every day
- Eat balanced nutritious foods, 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
- Perform routine maintenance to the dentist every 6 months
In pregnant women, it is advisable to carry out a dental examination immediately after being positive for pregnancy. In fact, it would be even better if a dental examination was carried out before pregnancy . That way, any teeth and gum problems that may exist can be treated early. After that, the teeth and gums can also be thoroughly cleaned by the dentist.