swollen_ gums

Ten Reasons You Should Never Ignore Swollen Gums

6. Are You Going Through Hormonal Changes

Women can experience swollen gums during unique periods in their life where there are hormonal changes, like during puberty, menstruation, pregnancy, menopause, and the use of birth control pills.

Hormones affect how your gum tissues react to the toxins released from the bacterial plaque and tartar. An uptick in the hormones estrogen and progesterone increases the chance of gum irritation and swelling caused by plaque.

If you’ve already got your brushing and flossing routine on lockdown and are on top of your teeth cleanings, yet swollen gums are still giving you trouble, consult with your doctor. They may recommend hormonal or vitamin therapy to help.

7. A New Toothpaste is Causing Irritation

The ingredients in toothpaste and mouthwash can irritate gum tissue and even cause allergic reactions. This is especially true with continued use (like when you don’t know it’s your oral care products causing the reaction).

Identifying that problem ingredient and removing it from your daily routine is often enough to help your gums heal up. Common ingredients that can cause pesky oral contact dermatitis include: hydrogen peroxide (common in teeth-whitening), alcohol (common in mouthwashes), baking soda (common in some toothpaste), and cinnamates (common in chewing gum).

8. A Crooked Tooth is Causing Trouble

Misalignment of teeth can affect how well you can access them and properly brush and floss to remove bacterial plaque. By realigning and straightening your teeth (whether with traditional braces, clear aligners, or porcelain veneers), you can gain better access to clean below the gums where plaque buildup is causing gum infections and swelling.


9. You’re Having Dental Device Issues

Poorly fitting dentures, or Invisalign-type teeth straighteners, can irritate the gums, leading to inflammation and secondary swelling. Removal of the device or having them properly fitted so they fit snugly (dentures) or don’t touch the gums (straighteners) can usually undo the damage and swelling.

10. There is an Underlying Health Condition

Swollen gums may be a sign of an underlying health condition, such as diabetes. Glucose is present in saliva, so when your blood sugar’s out of whack, the higher glucose levels in your saliva help bacteria to grow and can eventually lead to gum disease, according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.

Another less common, but serious, cause of gum swelling and bleeding is leukemia (sometimes, in the form of a single swollen lump or completely swollen gums). The leukemia cells concentrate in the gums, making them puffy.

If the swelling persists, especially if it’s associated with other systemic signs like fevers, night sweats, fatigue, and unexplained weight loss, see your doctor right away for a blood test.

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