Swelling of the gums is a common problem. The tissue that forms the gums is thick, fibrous and full of blood vessels. Hence, when there is swelling, the gums may protrude or bulge out and appear red instead of their normal pink.
This can cause the gums to become irritated, sensitive and even painful. The gums also may bleed more easily when brushing or flossing your teeth.
Gum swelling can be due to a number of issues, such as gingivitis, infection, nutritional deficiencies or pregnancy.
Other common causes include poorly fitting dentures or other dental appliances, excessive smoking or use of other tobacco products, sensitivity to toothpaste or mouthwash, an injury or incorrect brushing or flossing techniques.
You can soothe the pain and swelling of gums with proper oral hygiene and home remedies. However, if you have swollen gums and symptoms persist for more than two weeks, see your dentist.
Here are the top 10 home remedies to reduce gum swelling.
1. Warm and Cold Compresses
Warm and cold compresses can provide quick relief for sore, swollen gums as they help reduce pain and swelling. You need to hold the compresses against your face, not directly on the swollen gums.
- Soak a clean cloth in warm water and wring out the excess liquid.
- Hold the cloth against your face for 5 minutes.
- Next, wrap a bag of frozen peas in a thin towel and hold it against your face until the area becomes slightly numb.
- Repeat the cycle 2 or 3 more times.
- Use this remedy as needed.
2. Salt Water
Salt is another effective remedy for swollen gums. It inhibits growth of bacteria in the mouth and prevents infections that may contribute to several oral health issues.
- After brushing your teeth with a soft-bristle toothbrush, gently rub your gums with salt for a few seconds. Rinse it off with warm water. Do this once daily. After your gums are healthy again, do this 3 times a week to prevent recurrence.
- Another option is to add ½ to 1 teaspoon of salt to a glass of lukewarm water and use it to rinse your mouth twice daily until the swelling subsides.
3. Hydrogen Peroxide
Hydrogen peroxide can also help reduce gum inflammation and pain. It can even help kill germs and fight oral problems. For oral health, use food grade, 3 percent hydrogen peroxide solution only.
- Mix equal parts of 3 percent hydrogen peroxide solution and water. Swish the solution around your gums and teeth for 30 seconds. Rinse it off with warm water.
- Mix 1 teaspoon of baking soda with enough hydrogen peroxide to make a paste. Rub this paste on your gums, wait 1 minute and then rinse your mouth thoroughly with water.
Use either of these treatments 2 or 3 times a week.
Note: Make sure you do not swallow hydrogen peroxide.
Turmeric is also a good home remedy for swollen gums. It contains curcumin, which has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that can help reduce pain, swelling and inflammation.
In addition, it prevents the spread of bacterial activity that causes several oral problems.
- Mix ¼ teaspoon of turmeric powder with a little water to make a paste.
- Apply this paste on the gums with your clean finger.
- Leave it on for 5 minutes, then massage gently for 1 minute.
- Rinse your mouth with warm water.
- Repeat twice daily for 1 to 2 weeks.
5. Black Tea Bags
Black tea bags have tannins that can help reduce inflammation of the gums. In addition, its antioxidant properties promote good oral health.
- Steep a tea bag in boiling water for 2 to 3 minutes.
- Remove it and allow it to cool to a bearable temperature.
- Hold the tea bag on the affected area of your gums for 10 to 15 minutes.
- Rinse your mouth with a warm salt-water solution.
- Repeat once daily for a few days.
6. Aloe Vera
Another effective remedy to treat swollen and bleeding gums is aloe vera. This herb has anti-inflammatory as well as antibacterial properties that can prevent the growth of plaque-causing bacteria in the mouth and soothe inflamed gums.
- Cut open an aloe vera leaf to get the gel.
- With your clean finger, rub the gel on the gums.
- Gently massage for 1 to 2 minutes.
- Rinse with warm water.
- Repeat a few times daily until there is improvement in your condition.
7. Tea Tree Oil
Tea tree oil contains antibiotic and anti-inflammatory properties that can provide quick relief from irritated and inflamed gums.
- Mix a few drops of tea tree oil in a glass of warm water. Use it as a mouthwash twice daily.
- Brush your teeth with toothpaste containing tea tree oil as the main ingredient to ease discomfort.
Follow these remedies daily until your gums look healthy again.
Note: Make sure not to swallow tea tree oil. It can cause stomach problems.
8. Oil Pulling
Whether it is inflamed gums or any other dental problem, oil pulling is a good way to prevent oral health issues. This age-old Ayurvedic practice helps reduce growth of bacteria in the mouth that causes infection. It even prevents plaque formation and strengthens the gums.
- Put 1 tablespoon of sesame oil in your mouth.
- Swish the oil around your mouth for 15 to 20 minutes.
- Spit out the oil, then rinse your mouth thoroughly with warm water.
- Finally, brush your teeth.
- Do this daily in the morning before brushing your teeth.
Note: Do not gargle or swallow the oil.
9. Vitamin D
If you often have swollen gums, increase your intake of vitamin D to relieve the problem. Vitamin D has anti-inflammatory properties that help reduce swelling and prevent it from recurring.
Vitamin D also helps the body make full use of the calcium from your diet, thus improving periodontal health and increasing bone mineral density.
- Help your body make vitamin D by exposing yourself to early morning sunlight for about 10 minutes daily.
- Eat vitamin D-rich foods like salmon, whole eggs, sunflower seeds and cod liver oil.
- You can opt to take a supplement, after consulting a doctor.
10. Proper Nutrition
Proper and balanced nutrition is essential for healthy gums and teeth. Make sure you get adequate amounts of calcium, vitamin C and folic acid from your diet to prevent swollen gums. Deficiency of any of these nutrients can cause inflamed gums.
- Eat vitamin C-rich foods, such as oranges, strawberries, kiwi, pineapple, bell peppers, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cantaloupe and kale.
- Eat calcium-rich foods, such as dairy products, sardines, tofu, salmon, soy milk, cereals and collard greens.
- Eat foods with high levels of folic acid, such as dark leafy greens, broccoli, asparagus, peas, beans, lentils and avocados.
If needed, you can take supplements, but only after consulting your doctor.
- Brush and floss regularly, especially after meals.
- Avoid brushing too roughly as it may irritate your gums.
- Replace your toothbrush every three months and use only soft-bristled toothbrushes.
- Avoid very hot or very cold food and beverages.
- Avoid tobacco products and alcohol as they can exacerbate the swelling.
- Drink plenty of water throughout the day to stimulate the production of saliva, which naturally helps kill bacteria.
- Reduce stress as it may worsen your condition.
- Visit your dentist at least once every six months for a checkup.