How Long do Swollen Gums Last?
Your gums are an overlooked and crucial part of your oral health. The gums are comprised of firm, pink tissue that covers your jawbones. This soft tissue is thick, fibrous, and full of blood vessels. The gum tissue is extremely sensitive, and people do not realize how important they are to your overall oral health.
If your gums become swollen, they might protrude or bulge out. Swelling with your gums most often begins where the gum meets the tooth. Your gums can become so swollen, however, that they will hide parts of your teeth. Swollen gums will appear red instead of their normal pink color.
Swollen gums, also called gingival swelling, can become irritated, more sensitive, or even painful. You might also notice that your gums seem to bleed easily when brushing or flossing your teeth.
Several Common Causes of Swollen Gums
If you have swollen, inflamed gums, you know they can lead to serious discomfort. The most common cause of inflammation is gum disease, but improper brushing or flossing, tobacco use, chemotherapy, hormone changes, pregnancy, malnutrition, and infections can also play a role.
With more than 50 percent of American adults over the age of thirty experiencing early gum disease, swollen gums are a common ailment. Depending on the severity of inflamed gums, you may be suffering from one of two types of gum disease:
- Gingivitis: An early and mild form of gum disease, gingivitis affects millions of Americans each year. One of the most common signs of gum disease is swollen gums that may bleed when you brush or floss. While gingivitis is not yet serious, it is important to treat the disease to stop any further progression.
- Periodontitis: When gingivitis is not treated in a timely fashion, it will progress to the more serious level of gum disease known as periodontitis. Now the inflamed gums are more painful, and your teeth might begin coming loose. That is because the periodontitis has started to damage the tissue that is holding your teeth in place. Treating swollen gums is particularly important for your long-term oral health.
Treating Swollen Gums
If your gums are swollen for longer than just a couple of days it may be a sign of an underlying issue such as gingivitis, periodontitis, or even a tooth abscess. If swelling occurs in addition to a fever, you should contact your dentist immediately. They may capture x-rays to rule out an abscess and then proceed with a proper professional teeth cleaning to remove the source of the bacteria, which is the plaque and tarter on the surface of your teeth.
Inflamed gums can easily be treated to reverse early gum disease. After a professional cleaning and possibly a prescribed antibiotic, if necessary, the swollen gums will be normal inside of ten days. Brush up on your oral hygiene habits. Brush less vigorously, using a softer toothbrush, to avoid damaging the tissue around your teeth, which can inflame gums. Continue with proper daily oral hygiene habits and compliment your work with an exam every six months to prevent swollen gums resulting from gum disease.