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Top 7 Possible Causes Of Your Painful And Swollen Gums

Top 7 Possible Causes Of Your Painful And Swollen Gums

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Inflammation is a mystery with a lot of possible causes. If you have swollen gums, it’s natural to be worried about its causes. From a growing tooth to a more serious dental condition, inflamed gums should not be taken lightly. 

In this post, we will share the possible causes of gum inflammation and why it is important to seek dental advice as soon as possible.  

Reasons why your gums are swelling and painful

Gum swelling can be a cause or effect of the following conditions:

Impacted wisdom tooth

Swollen gums due to impacted wisdom tooth

Source: Mayo Clinic

An impacted wisdom tooth is a molar that can’t surface and grow above the gum line due to lack of space. It can cause gum swelling as it tries to push upward and even radiate pain to the other teeth.

If the impacted wisdom tooth is causing dental complications to other neighboring teeth, it will be best to have it removed with oral surgery.

An impacted wisdom tooth needs immediate medical attention when you experience the following symptoms:

  • Swollen gums and swelling around the jaw
  • Bleeding gums
  • Jaw pain
  • Bad breath
  • Unusual taste in your mouth
  • Difficulty in opening your mouth

Gum disease

The first stage of gum disease is gum swelling or gingivitis. Periodontal disease or gum disease is a serious dental condition wherein the infection damages the gum tissues and jawbones. It usually starts with plaque buildup near the gums due to poor dental hygiene. 

You can prevent gingivitis from turning into gum disease by going to your dentist as soon as possible. Unless plaque is removed from your teeth, disease-causing bacteria can seep deep in your gums and spread infection throughout your mouth.

Canker sores and mouth ulcers

A canker sore can occur in any part of your mouth, even on the gums. Its surface may look like a white or red lesion which progresses into stomatitis. It is not a serious dental condition, but it can be painful when you eat or drink. 

Canker sore and mouth ulcers will subside and heal on their own within one to two weeks. However, if the inflammation doesn’t subside, it’s best to consult your dentist or doctor.

Cancer therapy

Chemotherapy is known to have a lot of side effects after the treatments. It can cause lesions and canker sores anywhere in the mouth and lead to mild and temporary inflammation. Cancer patients may experience these effects usually on the seventh-day post-therapy. 


Chemicals in tobacco rob off oxygen from your bloodstream and disrupt the saliva flow in your mouth. Therefore, creating a perfect environment for bacteria to build up plaque and start attacking your gums. 

Undetected tooth abscess

Swollen gums due to tooth abscessA tooth abscess is a pus of dead white blood cells caused by an infection. It is usually found below the gum line, either on the side of the tooth or at the tooth root. 

It starts when bacteria successfully infiltrates the tooth pulp which happens with undetected tooth decay or cracked tooth. If left untreated, it can cause swollen gums and spread inflammation throughout your face.

Irritated gums due to aggressive brushing, flossing, and poorly-fitting dentures

Sometimes your swollen gums are self-inflicted. Our gums are made of soft tissues that can be easily bruised with constant friction. A hard-bristled toothbrush matched with aggressive brushing or flossing can gravely irritate your gums and cause swelling. 

Dentures that no longer snuggle onto your gums and constantly shift can also trigger gum inflammation. 


Changes in hormones can trigger your body to pump more blood to your gums and be more irritated than usual. Patients experiencing puberty, pregnancy, or menstrual period are prone to have swollen gums due to hormonal changes.

Tips to relieve swollen gums

To avoid gum infection and other causes of gum inflammation, here are some preventive steps:

  • Practice good oral hygiene: Practice brushing your teeth with a soft-bristled toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste to prevent the formation of plaque and tartar. Floss at least once daily to get rid of stuck food particles between your teeth.
  • Boost your immune system: Besides keeping your teeth and gums healthy, reduce your susceptibility to infections by boosting your immune health. Maintaining a healthy diet and getting enough sleep is not only good for your body but also impacts your gum health. 
  • Quit smoking: Avoid smoking cigarettes before it starts wreaking havoc on your gum and lung health.
  • Discuss the side effects of cancer treatments to your doctor: Let your doctor know the side effects of your cancer treatments on your gums and seek his medical advice on managing your situation. 
  • Consult your dentist on possible tooth abscess below your gum line: If you feel a sudden gum pain even without a sign of tooth decay, there might be a hidden tooth abscess that you can only detect in a dental x-ray. Fine Arts Dentistry provides oral exams and restorative services in Matthews, including:

Let our team of dental experts help you identify the root cause of your painful and swollen gums. Schedule an appointment now to prevent your dental condition from getting worse.  

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