Everyone wants and deserves a healthy smile. While your teeth are an important part of that smile and its overall health, your gums are what serve as the foundation. If your gums are suffering, the rest of your mouth, and sometimes other aspects of your body, will as well. One warning sign that your gums are not at their healthiest is if they are swollen. Generally, gums in this state may protrude or bulge out and swell where the gum meets the tooth. Excessive swelling can even cover part of the tooth. It can be alarming when this happens, but swollen gums can be treated with the help of our dentists and at-home methods. Here are some of the causes behind swollen gums and treatment options. When You Should Be Concerned If you look in the mirror, smile, and notice an area on your gums that is redder than usual, it is not necessarily the time to panic. You could have irritated your gums with a slip of the toothbrush, acidic foods, or a dental appliance. When gums become highly sensitive, painful, or bleed easily, there could be a more serious issue at play. Don’t hesitate to contact our Hudsonville dental office if you’re experiencing gum discomfort as it could be a sign of periodontal disease. Possible Causes of Swelling Swollen gums can be caused by several factors. Some have to deal more with lifestyle choice, such as tobacco use or pregnancy, while others center around poor oral hygiene habits. Regardless, determining a cause will ultimately help influence treatment. A few causes of swollen gums include: \tGingivitis or periodontitis \tPregnancy \tVitamin deficiencies \tInfection Gingivitis or Periodontitis Gingivitis is a mild form of gum disease and many individuals do not even know they have the condition due to minor symptoms. Nonetheless, gum irritation can occur. Fortunately, gingivitis can be reversed with a professional teeth cleaning and good oral hygiene habits practiced at home. However, if gingivitis is not treated in a timely manner and neglected, it can progress into periodontitis which is more serious and long-term. At its worst, periodontitis can lead to tooth loss. Having your gums checked out by one of our dentists can be what saves your teeth and eliminates any swelling or pain. Pregnancy Dental issues during pregnancy can happen due to an increase in hormones in the body. In fact, it’s not uncommon for pregnancy to put you at risk for loose teeth, cavities, and irritated gums. Hormonal changes can also lead to a lessened ability to fight off bacteria responsible for gum infections. If you are pregnant, please be sure to brush your teeth at least twice a day, floss daily, and visit our Hudsonville office every six months for a cleaning. Vitamin Deficiencies A lack of vitamin B and C in your diet can result in swollen gums. Did you know that vitamin C in particular is important when it comes to the repair and maintenance of your teeth and gums? Yes, receiving enough vitamins from foods like fruits and vegetables can help your oral health and frankly, the entire body. Proper nutrition is something to smile about! Infection Certain viruses or bacteria can potentially lead to your gums becoming swollen. Untreated tooth decay can also be the root cause of why an infection has begun in the first place as neglect can create a painful dental abscess. If you believe you have an oral infection, please make an appointment with our dentists and we can help resolve the situation to the best of our ability. Professional and At-Home Treatment At Hudsonville Dental, we offer several forms of treatment designed to alleviate swollen gums. One of which is scaling and root planing. This form of deep cleaning is reserved for patients with confirmed periodontal disease and removes plaque and tartar from above and below the gumline. If our dentists find that you only have mild gingivitis, we will perform a regular cleaning to get rid of left behind plaque and food particles. Swelling and redness should go away not long after the cleaning but please do not hesitate to contact us if the problem persists. Before seeking professional care, however, we do recommend you try a few at-home remedies first to see if the swelling goes down. A few tips include: \tStay hydrated with plenty of water \tRinse your mouth with a saltwater solution to remove bacteria \tAvoid anything that may irritate your mouth like strong rinses, tobacco, or alcohol \tUse a warm compress for gum pain or a cold compress for any swelling \tBrush and floss your teeth gently Our Dentists Can Help Don’t delay treatment if you notice prolonged swollen gums. Our dentists in Hudsonville, MI, can perform an oral examination to find the cause and relieve you of any discomfort. Call Hudsonville Dental today at (616) 209-4024 to schedule an appointment.