Gums are vital to good oral health, so when you experience pain, bleeding, or swelling of the gums, it is important to make an appointment with your dentist or Specialist Periodontist immediately to address the problem.
What Causes Swollen Gums?
Swollen gums are often indicative of a more serious underlying problem. Your gums may also appear red, bleed easily and feel sensitive or painful. Often, people with swollen gums will experience bleeding when flossing or brushing. Some of the most common causes of swollen gums around a tooth include:
Gingivitis is the most common cause of swollen gums and is usually the result of poor oral hygiene. Without regular brushing and flossing, a biofilm called plaque (matrix of bacterial colonies) forms on your teeth, which can lead to tooth decay and gum disease. If plaque is not removed with regular brushing and flossing, it calcifies and hardens turning into calculus, also known as tartar. Calculus (little rocks) cannot be removed with normal brushing and flossing so you need to see your dentist or Periodontist to remove these hard deposits professionally.
The symptoms of gingivitis can be very mild to the point where some people do not know they even have the disease. If left untreated gingivitis can lead to a more serious gum condition called periodontitis. Unfortunately, periodontitis causes the bone around teeth to shrink away bein response to the bacterial toxins.
In addition to swollen gums, people with gingivitis may also experience bad breath, receding gums, gums that are bright red or purple and tender.
A balanced, healthy diet is essential for maintaining strong teeth and gums. Malnutrition can lead to gum disease.
Hormonal changes during pregnancy can cause an increase in blood volume and flow to the gums, causing them to be more prone to sensitivity and bleeding.
Smoking can have a significant impact on your gum health. Cigarette smoke contains thousands of harmful chemicals in addition to nicotine. These chemicals change the environment of your mouth contributing to receding gums, reduced saliva production, and impaired healing leading to gum disease.
Treating Swollen Gums
At Toothsome, our Specialist Periodontist will examine your teeth and gums and may need to take x-rays to determine the nature and severity of the gum problem. Our Specialist Periodontist will take a detailed history, including a family history of gum disease and any possible contributing risk factors. The Periodontist will discuss gum disease with you, causes of gum disease and the different ways we can treat gum disease. You will be shown the correct way to brush and floss your teeth. You may also need a professional cleaning to remove any built-up tartar that is irritating the gums.
Periodontists are specialist dentists that specialise in gums. In Australia, a Specialist Periodontist has a degree in dentistry and another advanced degree of 3 years specialist training in gum disease treatment and diagnosis. Periodontists are experts in gum diseases like gingivitis and periodontitis and are the best dental professionals to diagnose and treat your bleeding or swollen gums.
Preventing Swollen Gums
You can avoid swollen gums and gum disease with good oral hygiene. Brushing twice a day and flossing daily is vital to remove harmful bacteria and plaque before it becomes tartar. If you use irrigation devices or mouth washes, you still need to brush and floss to mechanically break up the plaque biofilm on your teeth.
Brush your teeth even if you experience bleeding gums but seek advice from your dentist or periodontist as bleeding gums is a possible sign of gum disease.
Make sure that you visit your dentist for regular check ups so they can monitor the health of your teeth and gums and catch small problems before they become more serious.
Catching the signs of gingivitis early can reduce your risk of developing periodontitis. If you experience swelling or tenderness around your tooth, contact our friendly staff at Toothsome at one of our Sydney locations, to discuss your treatment options.
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