How to Treat Swollen or Receding Gums

Posted on: March 20, 2020 | Patient Education

If you notice your gums are red and swollen, or they have pulled away from your teeth, you may wonder how this happened, what you can do about it, and whether or not this can cause permanent damage. A number of factors can cause swollen or receding gums, but this can be reversed. Knowing how to treat swollen or receding gums can help to restore your smile and keep your teeth healthy.


What Causes Swollen or Receding Gums?

how to treat swollen or receding gums

Your gums are more delicate than you might think. These tissues are sensitive to impacts, abrasions and bacteria just like any other tissue in your body. Swollen or receding gums are often a symptom of another problem, and recognizing the signs can help you avoid damage to your teeth. The most common causes of swollen or receding gums include:

Bacteria Causing Gingivitis

When bacteria irritate the gums, it causes inflammation. This condition is called gingivitis. Though you might not feel it, you will see it; your gums will appear red, puffy, and may start to pull away from your teeth. In its early stages, gingivitis is reversible. However, if it becomes periodontal disease, it can damage teeth roots and surrounding structures. This damage cannot be undone. It’s important to recognize gingivitis when it occurs, and stop it before it gets worse. We’ll discuss how to treat swollen or receding gums due to gingivitis later in the post.


Gingivitis During Pregnancy

Pregnancy can also cause swollen or receding gums. There are a number of myths surrounding dental care and pregnancy, but pregnancy gingivitis is a real condition. Pregnancy gingivitis is not fully understood, but some evidence suggests hormonal changes are to blame. Unlike gingivitis caused by inadequate dental care, pregnancy gingivitis will eventually go away on its own.


Brushing Your Teeth Too Hard

Brushing twice daily is essential for dental health. However, it is possible to brush too hard and damage your gums. You don’t need to apply much force while brushing your teeth. A gentle scrubbing motion with a quality toothbrush is enough to remove plaque from your teeth. Brushing too hard can damage your gums, making them red, swollen, and causing them to recede from teeth.


Teeth Grinding Causing Gum Recession

If you’re under a lot of stress, you may find yourself grinding your teeth. This is called bruxism, and it can happen throughout the day or during the night while you sleep. This puts a lot of pressure on your teeth and can cause your gums to recede and swell.


How to Treat Swollen or Receding Gums

Most of the time, swollen or receding gums are not painful. However, as the condition worsens, it can become painful. You can treat swollen or receding gums yourself and your dentist can also help. Use these methods to treat swollen or receding gums and stop the condition from getting worse.


Flossing Daily

Flossing is one of the best ways to treat swollen and receding gums. This condition is often caused by bacteria that multiply in the small spaces between teeth, and then start to damage the gums. Flossing helps to eliminate these bacteria and allows gums to heal.

If your gums are swollen, you may notice that flossing causes your gums to bleed. But don’t worry. As your gums become healthy again, the bleeding will stop when you floss. Floss gently, take your time and this bleeding will stop before long.


Brushing Gently Twice a Day

Hard brushing is one cause of receding gums. Many people tend to press harder when they first start brushing, and they also tend to start brushing in the same place every time. If you notice your gums receding in only one area of your mouth, you might be brushing too hard in this area. When you start brushing, take a moment to start in a different part of your mouth. Be aware of how much pressure you’re using and remember that gentle brushing is enough to remove plaque.


Using Mouthwash Regularly

Mouthwash isn’t a replacement for brushing and flossing, but adding mouthwash to your dental hygiene routine can help to remove bacteria harming your gums. Rinsing with mouthwash can also be helpful after eating or drinking. Mouthwash will remove starches and sugars that bacteria feed on, so they don’t multiply as quickly.


Use a Mouthguard to Prevent Grinding

If teeth grinding is causing your gums to recede, a mouthguard can help. There are several different types of mouthguards to protect your teeth from teeth grinding. These mouthguards will absorb some of the pressure put on your teeth from grinding, and help to keep your gums from receding.


For Additional Help – See Your Dentist

If you are not sure how to treat swollen or receding gums, your dentist can help. Point this out at your next appointment, and your dentist can give you additional methods to treat swollen gums and prevent the problem from getting worse.

There are many causes of swollen or receding gums, and getting to the root of the problem is the best way to prevent damage to your teeth long-term. If you have swollen or receding gums, or you have other dental concerns, visit one of our dental offices throughout Southern Nevada and Arizona.



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