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Swollen Gums - Symptoms, Causes, Treatment, Pictures

Updated on December 26, 2013


What are Swollen Gums?

Swollen gums are periodontal disease characterized by an inflammation or swelling of the tissue surrounding the jaw or known as the gums. It is a non-destructive and non-life threatening form of periodontal disease and is often mild that it goes unnoticed. It is however, important to have the condition treated as the condition may progress in severity and may lead to gum recession and permanent damage to the teeth.

Gums or gingiva are mucus membrane covering tissues of the jaw surrounding and sealing the roots of the teeth. It is tightly bounded on the underlying bone to provide firm structure and defy friction while facilitating mastication or food chewing during the process of eating. The contour of a healthy gum is smooth and scalloped in shape filling each interdental space fitly giving firm hold with each movement in the mouth and bite of teeth.


Swollen gums can be located around tooth or may be found under the teeth or in between the teeth. It can also be located in one tooth which can either be in front or behind a tooth. The color of swollen gums is somewhat reddish with unfitted structure of teeth and gums are not firmed. Healthy gums on the other hand are pinkish in color with gums that are firm and teeth fit appropriately.

Mild swollen gums can go unnoticed although there are tell-tale signs to identify the existence of swollen gums ad these include the following:

  • Gums appear reddish in color and tender or swollen
  • Gums bleed easily with flossing and brushing

When gum swelling is left untreated and worsen, signs and symptoms include the following:

  • Swollen and painful gums that is constant and made worse by eating and brushing or flossing of teeth.
  • Gums receding making the teeth look longer as the gums slowly move back and expose the teeth.
  • Gum discoloration which is marked by redness or red spot on gums or generalized redness along the gum line.
  • Bad breath or halitosis is among the signs and symptoms of a swollen gum where bad breath is constant.
  • Constant bad taste is also experienced in some people suffering from swollen gums.
  • Change in fit of teeth which is noticeable when biting. Teeth structures may also deform and may produce a gap in between teeth.
  • Loose teeth are common in severe cases of swollen gums as the condition can bring about permanent damage to the teeth when not properly addressed.


Swollen gum is believed to be due to accumulation of bacteria or a bacterial infection by which the direct cause of infection has yet to be identified or the exact cause of bacterial infection has not been determined. Bacterial infection is implicated on the accumulation of plaque in between teeth resulting to swollen gums. The plaque contains numerous bacteria believed to be responsible for the condition. Factors are considered for the condition of swollen gums and these include the following:

Poor oral hygiene is the most common cause for plaque buildup and swollen gums. Food particles left in between teeth accumulate when not remove through proper brushing of teeth. This tiny food particle that has lodged is potential for bacterial growth which can later become harmful.

Dentures and braces that are tightly fit can irritate the gums and therefore lead to swelling.

Diet rich in sugar encourages tooth decay which can harbor bacteria that can later infect the gums and cause it to swell.

Vitamin insufficiency or lack in intake of Vitamin C can result to an inflammation of the gums.

Medications meant to manage and treat conditions such as organ transplant, seizures, high blood pressure and birth control pills contribute to swollen gums as these medications can compromise the immune system thereby allowing bacteria to thrive in the gums.

Hormonal changes especially during puberty stage can make the gums more vulnerable for bacterial infection.

Pregnancy result to an increase in blood circulation and fluid retention. Increased blood circulation is contributory for inflammation and pregnancy is associated with hormonal changes that two put together is tantamount to swollen gums as the gums during these stages are at its vulnerability.

Smoking cigarette is contributory factor to periodontal disease which can result to inflammation of the gums.

Existing underlying condition is another contributory factor for developing swollen gums. Conditions such as diabetes and HIV can suppressed and compromise the immune system of an individual with the said conditions putting them at risk for bacterial infection. Sjorgen’s syndrome is another condition that can put an individual at risk for bacterial infection subsequently gum swelling as a result of excessive dryness of the mouth.

Tartar formation covers the bacteria in between teeth and can also irritate the gums overtime thereby resulting to inflammation of the gums.

It is necessary for swollen gums to be determined and properly treated as the condition may worsen if neglected and which later on can contribute for the development of generalized health conditions aside from causing permanent damage to teeth. Such risk for severe swollen gums includes the following:

Cardiovascular disease is potential as the bacteria that infected the oral cavity can have the ability to travel and reach the cardiovascular system.

Premature birth and low birth weight is potential for pregnant women with swollen gums around tooth especially when the condition worsen and develops to periodontitis which can affect the overall health of the pregnant woman.


Swollen gums are basically curable and can be prevented. A good and proper oral hygiene is the primary step in managing and preventing swollen gums. It is imperative to have a regular visit with the dentist especially if one is at risk for developing swollen gums. Prompt treatment is tantamount to prevention of irreversible damage which the swollen gums may cause when left untreated.

  • Regular brushing of teeth is required plus a visit to the dentist to remove plaque buildup.
  • Proper diet and nutrition is essential to avoid bacterial infection while building up the immune system.
  • Mouth rinse can help eliminate bacterial growth. Mouth rinse can be bought over-the-counter while mouth rinse of salt and water helps relieve the swelling of gums.


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    • profile image


      5 years ago

      my eye tooth under the gum is swollen very bad way under the tooth it self ,I could feel it from outside my face it is not red but pink what is the cause how can I treat it ?

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      I previously had a coreldss version of this toothbrush, but was plagued with issues changing the batteries. This one is perfect since I don't have to ever change a battery. The drawback being that I have to use up valuable counter space and and electrical outlet. The number of rotations is astounding and leaves my mouth and teeth feeling wonderful clean and tingly. I absolutely LOVE the timer. It really does help me ensure that I have brushed the dentist recommended amount of time for a truly clean mouth! I also appreciate that I can chose from different kinds of replacement heads to see if a different one fits my needs better


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