Don’t panic if your gums are swollen. Surprisingly, it’s a common issue among people and in most cases, swollen gums are easily treated. Your gums are made of firm, pink, thick fibrous tissue full of blood vessels which cover your jawbone. Swollen gums, also known as gingival swelling, is when your gums are abnormally enlarged, bulging or protruding. When your gums are swollen it’s a sign they are irritated due to some type of issue and can be sensitive and painful.

Causes of Swollen Gums

There are several causes of swollen gums.


Gingivitis is the most common cause of swollen gums. Gingivitis, also known as gum inflammation, is a form of gum disease that causes inflamed gums. The inflamed gums are due to plaque, a naturally occurring sticky film containing bacteria – also known as biofilm – that builds up on your teeth and produces toxins that irritate the gums. If you have gingivitis, your gums can be swollen, puffy, receding, sometimes tender, or bleed easily. Untreated gingivitis can develop into a more severe form of gum disease known as periodontitis, a major cause of tooth loss in adults.

Food Debris

If you notice swelling around just one tooth, it is possible there is food stuck under your gums. Make sure to floss and brush properly and the swelling should resolve in a few days? go away on its own. If the swelling persists, make sure to schedule an appointment with your dentist. Leaving food under your gums can lead to gum disease.


During pregnancy there are a lot of hormonal changes that occur. These hormonal changes can cause swollen, inflamed and sensitive gums.

Abscessed Tooth

An abscessed tooth is a pocket of pus that’s caused by a bacterial infection. Your dentist will treat an abscessed tooth by draining the pocket of infection. Signs that you may have an abscessed tooth include not only red or swollen gums, but throbbing pain, swollen jaw or face, a tender or sore tooth, and fever. Make sure to schedule an appointment right away with your dentist if you are experiencing these symptoms.


Braces are designed to move and adjust teeth slowly over time. Braces cause a constant, steady pressure to your teeth that causes change to happen in your gums and jawbone. Having swollen gums is expected with braces, especially when they are first adhered or tightened. Braces with swollen gums is completely normal but brushing and flossing regularly will help reduce the amount of gum soreness you experience around your teeth. Having good oral hygiene while having braces will also help prevent gingivitis, the main cause of swollen gums. With braces it is a lot easier to get food stuck in the gums which can lead to gingivitis if proper oral hygiene isn’t practiced.

Additional Potential Causes

Other potential causes of swollen gums include:

  • Poor Oral Hygiene
  • Infection – Viral or Fungal
  • Medication Side Effects
  • Poor Nutrients
  • Mouthwash or Toothpaste Sensitivity
  • Dentures or Dental Appliances Fitting Poorly

Age, stress, obesity, tobacco, and genetics are also known to increase your risk of gum swelling.

Preventing Swollen Gums

The best thing you can do to prevent yourself from getting swollen gums is to practice good oral hygiene and visit your dentist on a regular basis – every six months for a cleaning and checkup. Good oral hygiene includes:

  • Brushing your teeth at least twice a day at a 45-degree angle
  • Brushing away from your gums to remove debris at or below your gumline
  • Using a soft bristled toothbrush or an electric toothbrush – they’re more effective at removing plaque
  • Cleaning between your teeth every day – flossers, interdental brushes or water flossers work well
  • Using a mouthwash to help reduce accumulation of bacteria and plaque

If your swollen gums last for an extended period – more than a few days – or you are concerned about your gums, schedule an appointment with your dental provider. They will be able to diagnosis the problem and start treatment.

For affordable, high-quality dental care in Henderson, Nevada or South Jordan, Utah contact Roseman Dental.

Nevada Location
Utah Location