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Swollen Gums

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What Are Swollen Gums?

Swollen gums (gingival swelling) are very common, and can be the result of many different causes including gingivitis, gingival recession, an overactive immune system and low saliva secretion. Swollen gums can be painful, itchy, and can interfere with eating and talking. There is always an underlying cause for swollen gums and therefore treatment usually includes relieving the pain and swelling while simultaneously treating the underlying condition. It is estimated that over 90% of the population will suffer from swollen gums at some point in their life and that over 20% suffer from chronic swelling of the gums.

What Causes Swollen Gums?

As mentioned, swollen gums can be caused by myriad underlying conditions. Below is a list of common causes of swollen gums, which will be explained in detail.

  • Infections and viruses
  • Overactive immune system
  • Gingivitis
  • Malnutrition
  • Lack of saliva production (also called dry mouth or xerostomia)
  • Dentures, retainers or other oral hardware
  • Pregnancy
  • Certain toothpastes, mouth rinses, alcohol or tobacco use

Infections and viruses, particularly of the mouth, can cause the gums to swell or recede. When the immune system detects an infection or virus, it sends white blood cells to defend the body and the area affected. If enough white blood cells are sent, the area becomes inundated with them, causing a whitish swelling. The same swollen gum symptoms can be found in people with overactive immune systems where the body mistakenly detects a foreign molecule and sends white blood cells to defend the area, causing inflammation. Gingivitis is a form of gum disease that can cause swollen gums as well as bleeding and receding of the gums. Gingivitis is usually caused by the excess build-up of bacterial plaque which triggers the immune system and creates inflammation, or swollen gums.

Malnutrition can also cause the gums to swell; in many cases, the swollen gums are bright red in color (as opposed to whitish) and usually recede. This is directly related to a lack of vitamins in the bloodstream. Vitamins such as Vitamin C for example, are important for many functions of the body including healthy teeth and gums. Severe lack of Vitamin C, such as in the case of Scurvy, teeth can actually fall out due to excessive recession, swelling, and the separating of tooth and gum.

Xerostomia, or dry mouth, can also be the root cause of swollen gums. When your glands do not produce enough saliva, which maintains a balance of bacteria in your mouth, foreign bacteria multiplies and can cause infections and inflammations. By using a product such as OraMoistTM, one can greatly reduce the occurrence of swollen gums.

Dentures, retainers, or any other dental hardware can irritate the mouth and cause swollen gums. Again, with irritation comes inflammation, so having your hardware refitted while using a gum health product can completely eradicate swollen gums.

Other causes of swollen gums can include allergies to certain mouth rinses or toothpastes. Changing your oral hygiene products could help reduce chronic swollen gums. Pregnancy has also been linked to swollen gums - in which case a natural product can reduce swelling and promote healthier gums during or after pregnancy.

Next: Swollen Gums Symptoms

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What are Swollen Gums?