Swollen gums around tooth are localized gingivitis which is confined to the gingiva or gum of a single tooth or a group of teeth. It is the most common type of gingivitis which can occur in any age group. When people do not take proper oral hygiene, bacteria in the mouth gets accumulated and forms plaque on the surfaces of teeth. These bacteria inflame the gum which results in red, swollen, or bleeding gums.

Early diagnosis or realization of swollen gum can be reversed and healed with proper oral hygiene. Let us know the causes, treatment, and prevention of swollen gums around tooth.

Understanding swollen gums around tooth

Gum or Gingiva is a thick, fibrous and are full of blood vessels surrounding the teeth and provide a seal around them. Swollen gum or gingivitis is an inflammation of the gums. It is may be due to plaque or tartar that is build up on your teeth.

Plaque is a sticky layer of gunk made by food particles, mucus, and bacteria. After a period, plaque hardens to become tartar or calculus. Plaque and tarter at the bottom of the teeth causes the gums to become irritated and infected and cause swollen gums around teeth.

Types of swollen gum

On the basis of course and duration

  • Acute gingivitis – It is of sudden onset and last for a short period and can be painful. A less severe form of acute gingivitis is termed as subacute.
  • Recurrent gingivitis – It reappears after having been eliminated by treatment or disappearing spontaneously.
  • Chronic gingivitis – It is slow in onset and is of long duration. It is painless unless complicated by acute or subacute exacerbation.

On the basis of distribution

  • Localized gingivitis – It is confined to the gingiva of single or a group of teeth.
  • Generalized gingivitis – In general gingivitis, the entire mouth is infected.
  • Marginal gingivitis – It involves the margin of gum lines and may also include a portion of the contagious attached gingiva.
  • Papillary gingivitis – Papillary gingivitis involves the interdental papilla and often extends into the adjacent portion of the marginal gingiva.
  • Diffuse gingivitis – It involves the gingival margin, the interdental papilla, and the attached gingiva.

Stages in swelling of the gums

 Stage I. Gingivitis (initial lesion)

The first manifestation of gingival inflammation is all internally like vascular changes consisting of dilation of capillaries and an increase in blood flow. Therefore no clinical signs appear at this stage. It occurs within 2-4 days of plaque accumulation.

Stage II. Gingivitis (the early lesion)

This stage is usually seen following 4-7 days of plaque accumulation. In this stage clinical signs of erythema(redness) appear, mainly owing to the proliferation of capillary loops between ridges. Bleeding on probing may also be evident.

Stage III (the established lesion)

The lesion generally develops after 14-12 days of plaque accumulation. Blood vessels become engorged and congested. Therefore blood flow becomes sluggish. The established lesion can be described as moderately to severely inflamed

Stage IV. Gingivitis (the advanced lesion)

Here, the lesion extends into the alveolar bone (bone in which teeth are embedded) and is known as the phase of periodontal destruction or periodontitis.

Signs and symptoms

  • Gingival tissue appears red or bluish red color.
  • The swelling around the gingival may be either localized or generalized.
  • The gingiva form boggy or spongy consistency.
  • Bleeding occurs either spontaneously or by slight provocation (brushing) from gingiva.
  • The gingival attachment level on the tooth surface remains unchanged.
  • Bad breath or halitosis.

Causes of swollen gum

  • Bacterial infections – Bacterial infections are caused due to dental plaque and tartar. A sticky yellow film of bacteria and organic matter called dental plaque to generate not only cavities but also gum infections. The plaque builds up along the margin of the gum lines and underneath infecting the gums from inside out. Once plaque gets deposited and is not cleaned out thoroughly can lead to inflammation of the affected area of gum.
  • Allergic reaction – It can cause due to the ingredients present in toothpaste, food, medicine, or even material used for teeth restoration can cause redness or swelling of the gum tissue.
  • Braces or faulty dental faulty restoration – Ill fitted dentures or partials can rub against the tissues and cause sores and swelling.
  • Deficiency of vitamin C or ascorbic acid – Severe Vitamin C deficiency in human results in scurvy. Scurvy results in swollen gum and loosened teeth. A balanced diet and proper intake of citrus fruits or other ascorbic acid containing food can heal and reverse the swelling in gum.
  • Hormonal– Hormonal changes during puberty, menstrual cycle, pregnancy can cause swelling in gum. It is reversible and bleeding on mastication or spontaneously may be presenting complaint.
  • Systemic disease – Diseases such as diabetes mellitus, leukemia, thyroid disorders can lead to various gum diseases. However, when these diseases are in good control, the gingival inflammation is less exaggerated.
  • Drug influence – The increased use of oral contraceptives by postmenopausal women has been associated with higher incidence of gingival inflammation resulting in swelling of gum and pain. Discontinuation of medications can reverse this phenomenon.

Treatment of swollen gum around tooth

Natural treatment for swollen gums around tooth infographic

Natural treatment of swollen gum

  • Apply clove oil since it is an effective ingredient which can be used to reduce swelling and relieve pain. You can also chew a clove
  • Rub aloe vera on the affected area.
  • Make mouthwash with essential oils like peppermint, tea tree, and chamomile. And use it 3-4 times a day until your gums reverse in pink and healthy.
  • Gargle with warm salt water. The temperature of the water should not burn your soft tissue thus use lukewarm water.
  • Gargle with boiled lemon water twice a day can also be of great help.
  • Rub a paste of ginger and salt directly on the affected area of gum.

Professional treatment of swollen gum

Cleaning of teeth

  • Scaling – it is a common dental procedure for removing dental plaque and tartar from the tooth’s surface. Scaling involves cleaning that reaches below the gum line to remove all the infection causing infectants. Instruments like scaler or curette are used for scaling. The dentist will insert this thin tool beneath the gum line to access plaque where your toothbrush can not reach.
  • Root planning – Abrasion of the rough tooth surface to achieve a smooth and clean surface. Root planning reaches deeper to address the surface of the root so that gum can reattach adequately.
  • Ultrasonic instruments – the dentist may use an ultrasonic device to clean your teeth. This feature a vibrating metal tip combined with a water spray. The tip chips tarter away as the water flushes out the pocket.

How to prevent swollen gum around tooth?

You can take the following steps to prevent swollen gums around tooth and associated problems

Proper oral hygiene

Brushing twice a day, flossing once a day and salt water gargle 3-4 times a week will go a long way in maintaining proper oral health and prevent the swelling of gum. One should use a soft toothbrush. Vigorous brushing can damage the soft tissues of the mouth. (4)

Healthy and balanced diet

It is particularly important to maintain a healthy level of vitamin B and C, folic acid, and calcium. You can include these in your diet and encourage stronger teeth and healthier gums.

Dental checkup

There is no day when you don’t look into a mirror, next time when you do so try to look at your teeth and inspect. If you find any dental plaque or tartar visit your dentist for scaling or cleaning of those. To avoid the formation of gingivitis

Reduce stress and sleep well

According to General Dentistry; stress affects one’s immune system and makes it difficult for a body to combat bacteria.

Final words on swollen gums around tooth

Swelling of gum till its milder level is reversible and can be cured with proper oral care. Professional cleanings are also extremely helpful because once plaque has hardened and built up, only a dentist can remove it. If the swelling lasts for more than two weeks, you must seek medical help.