Puffy or Bleeding Inflamed Gums
Your gums play an important role in your oral health. The gums are made of firm, thick, fibrous tissue that is full of blood vessels. Because of all of these blood vessels, it is common for the gums to become puffy or inflamed where the gums meet the teeth. A sign of inflamed gums is when they appear red instead of the normal pink color and are sensitive or painful. If your gums are irritated, you may notice that they also bleed when you brush or floss your teeth. What is causing your gums to swell and how do you treat it? Below is more information on the causes of and treatment for puffy or bleeding inflamed gums.
What Causes Swollen Gums?
There are many possible causes of swollen or inflamed gums and the good news is that the causes are fairly easy to treat once they are identified. Possible causes include:
Gingivitis, or early gum disease, is the most common cause of swollen gums. Many patients who have gingivitis don’t even know they have it. If left untreated, gingivitis can lead to much more serious gum disease, potentially resulting in tooth loss. Gingivitis is the result of allowing plaque to build up on the teeth and along the gumline. Daily brushing and flossing and professional cleanings all help to eliminate plaque buildup and prevent gingivitis.
Pregnancy is another common time when swollen gums can occur. Hormones that increase during pregnancy can cause increases in blood flow to the gums, leading to swelling. These hormones can also reduce the body’s ability to fight off bacteria, increasing the chance of gingivitis.
Malnutrition, or being deficient in essential vitamins, including vitamins B and C, can lead to swollen or inflamed gums. Vitamins are essential to the maintenance and repair of your teeth and gums. A healthy diet, rich in essential vitamins, can go a long way in keeping your teeth and gums healthy.
Treating Puffy or Inflamed Gums
If your gums are puffy, inflamed, and sensitive for more than two weeks, you should contact your dentist and schedule an appointment. With a comprehensive exam and some questions your dentist will help determine the possible causes of your inflamed gums. Depending on the cause they identify, your dentist will develop a treatment plan for you. This treatment plan may include a prescription for an oral rinse to help prevent gingivitis and reduce plaque, or antibiotics to fight an infection. If your dentist identifies that you have an extreme case of gingivitis, you may need a more invasive treatment plan. If you just noticed your inflamed gums, you can start changing your habits at home. You can start by increasing your brushing and flossing but remember to keep it gentle to not further irritate your gums. You can also try a saltwater solution mouth rinse to eliminate extra bacteria from your mouth. Additionally, you can try to increase you water intake to help stimulate the production of saliva and weaken any disease-causing bacteria in the mouth.