Home Remedies for Swollen Gums

15 Home Remedies to Treat Swollen Gums

Swollen gums can be painful and uncomfortable at any age. Here are 15 remedies on how you can treat your swollen gums right at home.

by Katherine Khaw

Have you ever felt as though your gums are feeling sore? There might not be a visible sign of swelling. However, there could be a sharpened sense of pain when you are flossing or brushing your teeth. There might be pain between your teeth, on top of some of your teeth, or all over your gums. Sometimes, it might be at the back of your mouth.

These may indicate swollen or sore gums.

What are Swollen Gums?

Gums play a vital role in dental health and overall well-being. Swollen gums can occur due to excess fluid in the soft tissue of the gums. This may be accompanied by redness, pains, sores, ulcers and bleeding. Symptoms can vary in intensity or remain constant. Gum pain can be described as a sharp, dull, stabbing or burning pain and the area affected is dependent on the cause (Medicover Hospitals, 2021).

Causes of Swollen Gums

Causes of swollen gums around a tooth or a section in the mouth may include one of the following:

Poor dental hygiene

This is one of the most common causes of swollen gums. During meals, food bits may get trapped between the tooth and the gum line. Flossing and brushing your teeth regularly should be able to remove the remaining debris. However, if this is not removed over time and remains lodged in the mouth, it may cause the gum tissue to swell. Not only that, there is a risk of dental cavities and gum infection.

Periodontal disease

A condition often diagnosed in adults, periodontal disease happens because of inflammation or infection of the gums that support and surround the teeth. These infections occur because of plaque buildup. Plaque is a sticky film of bacteria that builds upon the teeth. Hardened plaque is known as tartar, and it becomes challenging to remove. There are two stages to this disease:

Gingivitis

Known as the mild form of periodontal disease, it causes irritation, redness and swelling of the gingiva (the part of the gum around the base of your teeth). There is no need for extreme alarm as gingivitis is reversible. However, without treatment, this condition may worsen into periodontitis.

Periodontitis

Known as the later stage of periodontal disease, at this part, the gums begin to break away or recede from the tooth. This is a serious stage as an infection could damage the bone that supports the tooth, causing the loosening or loss of teeth altogether. A person experiencing periodontitis, aside from gingivitis symptoms, would have the following complications:

  • The appearance of elongated teeth due to gum recession
  • The appearance of widely spaced teeth
  • Loose or wobbling teeth
  • Emergence of pus
  • Change in the way the teeth come together when biting
  • Change in the fit of partial dentures
  • A foul taste or bad breath in the mouth despite cleaning
  • New sensitivity to the teeth

Tooth abscess

This condition deals with a pocket of pus that is caused by a bacterial infection. There are two types of abscesses that could occur:

  • Periapical abscess: the result of tooth decay or fractures, affecting the root of a tooth
  • Periodontal abscess: affects the gum tissue

Both types may cause swelling or redness in the gums. Other symptoms may appear for this condition as well (Mayo Clinic, 2019):

  • Severe and persistent toothache that not only hurts in the mouth area but also in the jawbone, neck or ear
  • Sensitivity to hot and cold temperatures
  • Sensitivity to the pressure of chewing or biting
  • Feverish
  • Swelling of the face or cheek
  • Tender, swollen lymph nodes under your jaw or in your neck
  • A sudden rush of foul-smelling and tasting fluid in the mouth, or pain relief when there is an abscess rupture
  • Difficulty in breathing or swallowing

Pregnancy

Hormones are significantly changed during pregnancy. This may incur even in women who have perfect oral health. The changing hormones can cause increased blood flow to the gums, making them more sensitive to swelling.

Other causes

At times, aside from the cited reasons above, there can be other health issues such as these:

  • Side effects due to medication
  • Malnutrition
  • Sensitivities to oral products (an ingredient in toothpaste or mouthwash)
  • Wearing poorly fitted dentures, crowns, or other dental appliances

After identifying the cause of swollen gums, it is time to take action by considering the available treatments for your condition.

Treatment & Home Remedies of Swollen Gums

Medical treatment begins for swollen gums after paying a visit to the dentist. The medication may include mouthwashes, ointments or toothpaste.

Otherwise, there are some home remedies to utilise.

  • Saltwater

Saltwater rinse is a basic means that every household person is able to procure. It may promote oral health and soothe inflammation in the gums. To make this solution, you would need about 1 teaspoon of salt in 1 cup of warm water should be sufficient per round. Let the salt dissolve in the mixture. Afterwards, gently keep the mixture in the mouth for around 30 seconds before spitting it out. You can rinse up to three times a day to reduce swelling temporarily.

  • Essential oils

Essential oils may be able to promote general oral health. For instance, a review belonging to the Evidence-Based Dentistry journal considered that mouthwashes containing essential oils managed to reduce plaque and inflammation more effectively than medicated ones for persons with gingivitis. There are other studies being carried out to validate the use of these elements. Nevertheless, it is advisable to check for other ingredients such as alcohol in the mouthwashes, as these may irritate the gums further.

  • Aloe vera

Aloe vera is a common plant that may assist in helping swollen gums. Many companies use aloe vera as part of their active ingredients for mouthwash. However, others may choose to apply the gel from the plant directly. Overall, keeping the product in the mouth for a few minutes before removing, it may help reduce the swelling.

  • Turmeric

Turmeric is a yellow spice that is often present in Indian dishes. Turmeric may alleviate the swelling due to its anti-inflammatory nature. There may be turmeric gel or powder available in the market to brush your teeth with.

  • Warm and cold compresses

Warm and cold compresses are able to soothe pains and swelling in swollen gums. For this to work, you would need to prepare a warm cloth against your face (at the affected gums’ side, but outside the mouth) for about 5 minutes. After, wrap a bag of crushed ice in another cloth and place it against your face for 5 minutes. Then, repeat this 2-3 times per cycle, 2-3 times per day.

  • Hydrogen peroxide

The use of hydrogen peroxide solution is paired with water for rinsing. For basic use, mix 3 tablespoons of 3% hydrogen peroxide with 3 tablespoons of water. Swirl the solution in your mouth for 30 seconds before spitting it out. This can be repeated 2-3 times a week until the swelling subsides.

  • Tea bags

Usually, teas contain plant compounds called tannins. Research suggested that tannins can reduce gum pain as they can kill the bacteria irritating the gums. As such, drinking green, hibiscus and black teas can incur a puckering feeling in the mouth as they contain high levels of tannin. You may keep a tea bag in boiled water for a few minutes, cooling it slightly, before applying it directly to the pained area for 5 minutes.

  • Clove oil

You may apply clove oil to the swollen gums and massage gently. Leave it on without washing it off. You can repeat this step every few hours. Clove oil has antimicrobial properties and serves as an analgesic.

  • Ginger

For this method, you would need a small piece of ginger and half a teaspoon of salt. Crush the ginger and add the salt into a paste. After, rub it onto the swollen part and leave it for 10-12 minutes. After, rinse your mouth with normal water. Ginger serves as an anti-inflammatory product.

  • Baking soda

Baking soda also has antiseptic and antibacterial properties. You can use baking soda solution to rinse your mouth or to brush your teeth.

  • Lemon juice

Mix a tablespoon of lemon juice with water. Gargle this solution twice a day until you find relief. Lemon contains antimicrobial compounds that can kill microbes. In addition, it balances the pH level in your mouth.

  • Lawsonia inermis leaves

Otherwise known as henna, these leaves are antibiotic in their properties. Boil a bunch of leaves in water for about 15 minutes. After, gargle with this water to get relief from gum pain.

  • Castor seed oil

For this, you would need to procure a camphor tablet. Crush the tablet and make a paste by mixing some drops of castor seed oil. Rub the affected gums with the paste. After 2-3 minutes, rinse with warm water to remove the paste.

  • Apple cider vinegar

As apple cider vinegar contains mild acids that bring back the pH balance in the mouth, this reduces the infection on the gums. To utilise this home remedy as a rinsing solution, mix a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar with a glass of water.

  • Vanilla extract

Use a clean finger or a Q-tip to apply this product to the affected gum. You do not need to rinse it off. This can be applied twice a day. Vanilla extract serves as an antiseptic and analgesic.

Gum Disease in Seniors

According to CDC’s report, about 2 in 3 American adults aged 65 years and older have gum disease. This statistic is alarming as many seniors may not have dental insurance or could be homebound. As such, it is necessary to procure regular checkups and in-home care services to help with personal hygiene.

Along with other personal care providers, Homage is able to assist you if you or your loved one require these services. You can click here to book a free consultation with our Care Advisors.

Gum Disease Prevention

To avoid gum infection and inflammation, these are a few general preventive steps to adhere to:

  • Practising good oral hygiene (brushing at least twice a day)
  • Rinsing with mouthwash
  • Drinking plenty of water
  • Boosting your overall immune system
  • Avoid smoking
  • Discussing the side effects of cancer treatments with your doctor (if applicable)
  • Check with your dentist regarding the possibility of tooth abscess below the gum line

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References
  1. Abdul Aziz, H. (2014). Periodontal Disease Amongst Malaysian [Article]. Retrieved 11 March 2022, from http://www.myhealth.gov.my/en/periodontal-disease-amongst-malaysian/ .
  2. Art of Smiles (2019). 14 Simple Home Remedies To Treat Swollen Gums [Article]. Retrieved 14 March 2022, from https://www.artofsmilespasadena.com/14-simple-home-remedies-to-treat-swollen-gums/ .
  3. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2021). Facts About Older Adult Oral Health [Website]. Retrieved 14 March 2022, from https://www.cdc.gov/oralhealth/basics/adult-oral-health/adult_older.htm .
  4. Chan, E.W., Soh, E.Y., Tie, P.P., & Law, Y.P. (2011). Antioxidant and antibacterial properties of green, black, and herbal teas of Camellia sinesis [Article]. Retrieved 14 March 2022, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3249787/ .
  5. Fine Arts Dentistry (2022). Top 7 Possible Causes Of Your Painful And Swollen Gums [Website]. Retrieved 11 March 2022, from https://fineartsdentistry.com/top-7-possible-causes-of-your-painful-and-swollen-gums/ .
  6. Frothingham, S. (2018). Home Remedies for Swollen Gums [Article]. Retrieved 11 March 2022, from https://www.healthline.com/health/home-remedies-for-swollen-gums .
  7. Johnson, J. (2019). What to do about swollen gums [Article]. Retrieved 12 March 2022, from https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/swollen-gums .
  8. Mayo Clinic (2019). Tooth abscess [Website]. Retrieved 11 March 2022, from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/tooth-abscess/symptoms-causes/syc-20350901 .
  9. Medicover Hospitals (2021). Swollen Gums [Website]. Retrieved 11 March 2022, from https://www.medicoverhospitals.in/symptoms/swollen-gums .
  10. Parker, H. (2020). Gum Problem Basics: Sore, Swollen, and Bleeding Gums [Article]. Retrieved 11 March 2022, from https://www.webmd.com/oral-health/guide/gum-problem-basics-sore-swollen-and-bleeding-gums .
  11. Richards, D. (2017). Effect of essential oil mouthwashes on plaque and gingivitis [Article]. Retrieved 13 March 2022, from https://www.nature.com/articles/6401233 .
About the Writer
Katherine Khaw
Katherine is an avid reader, finding joy in halls of words. Aside from the imagination wandering in worlds not here, she enjoys stargazing and gardening. In her heart of hearts, she aspires to be a writer, and to be more than mere dust.
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