Often caused by gingivitis, swollen gums can be indicative of infections, hormone changes, poor oral hygiene, or nutrient deficiencies. Dr. Kaplan of Dr. Steven Kaplan New York recommends getting your swollen gums checked by a professional, especially when they are also painful, sensitive, or irritated. Doing so can help your endodontist diagnose and treat any underlying condition that could be behind your swollen gums. Meanwhile, let’s look at what this problem says about your health.
What Are Swollen Gums?
Your gums are made of firm, thick, fibrous, pink tissue that supports your teeth and covers your jawbone. When they swell, they bulge out or protrude. Gum swelling often begins along the line where your gums meet your teeth but may become so extensive that your gums cover parts of your teeth. Additionally, swollen gums appear red rather than a healthy pink and can be painful, sensitive, or irritated. They may also bleed more easily when you floss or brush your teeth.
Common Causes of Swollen Gums
Although swollen gums are often caused by gingivitis, they can also be a result of:
· Gingivitis: This is the most common cause of swollen gums. Gingivitis is a gum disease that causes inflammation and irritation of the gums. Usually, it is caused by poor oral hygiene, which allows plaque and tartar to build up in your teeth and gum line, introducing bacteria.
· Malnutrition: Being vitamin deficient can also impact your oral health. Vitamins B and C are especially crucial, with the latter playing a pivotal role in teeth and gum repair and maintenance. When your vitamin C levels drop to below optimum, you could develop scurvy, which often causes gum disease and anemia.
· Pregnancy: During pregnancy, the increased level of hormones in your body could increase the blood flow to your gums. This could make your gums more irritable, causing swelling.
· Infection: Viral and fungal infections can also cause swollen gums. If you have herpes, you could develop acute herpetic gingivostomatitis, a condition that leads to swollen gums. Other infections that could lead your gums to swell include thrush and untreated dental decay.
Treating and Preventing Gum Swelling
The treatment regimen your dentist or endodontist prescribes will depend on the underlying cause behind your swollen gums. If you have an infection or severe decay, you may require a root canal. A periodontist may also be the best way forward for you if you do not have an unhealthy nerve and your swelling is only the result of a gum problem.
Meanwhile, you can maintain the health of your gums and prevent gum swelling in the first place through some lifestyle changes. Adopt and maintain a rigorous oral hygiene routine, which should include at least two brushes and one floss a day. You can also regularly rinse your mouth with antiseptic mouthwash to kill any bacteria buildup.
Healthy gums not only point to good oral health, but they also create the perfect backdrop for your smile. If your gums are swollen, red, bleeding, or painful, you should get them checked by an expert. Dr. Kaplan is a gum health expert and a leading New York City endodontist. Contact his office today or use the online booking tool to schedule a consultation to discuss the health of your gums.