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Gums and Brushing Techniques
If you experience swollen gums and gum pain, your brushing technique could be to blame. Ever since we can remember, we were told to brush our teeth well and often. While good oral hygiene habits are essential to keep our teeth and gums healthy, being too aggressive with our care can be harmful.
Maybe no one taught you how to brush your teeth properly. Is there really a right and wrong way? Believe it or not, your gums are a lot more sensitive than you may think, and it doesn’t take much to result in gum inflammation.
A gentle, circular motion that massages the gums and cleans your teeth is more effective and does a better job at cleaning than a back-and-forth motion. The back-and-forth motion can not only lead to swollen gums but may also cause damage to the enamel on your teeth and lead to receding gum lines.
While your technique is important, so is your toothbrush. As you know, there are tons of different types of toothbrushes on the market with various head and bristle sizes. A soft bristle brush, whether it’s a manual or electric toothbrush, is less likely to lead to puffy gums and gum pain.
Gums and Flossing Techniques
Some of us are better at flossing than others, even if we know how important it is to do on a daily basis. Flossing wasn’t designed to be “one more thing to remember,” but rather to help in the prevention of gum disease and tooth decay. Flossing removes hard to reach food particles which can increase bacteria in the mouth if left in the nooks and crannies of your teeth.
Flossing also massages your gums and keeps the blood circulating. The right flossing technique is essential to avoiding a swollen gum. While you need to use a little more force to reach a food particle, you should use less tension when massaging your gums.
Never force the floss between your teeth, but rather slowly and carefully slide it up and down. If, after you floss, you see blood, you may need to reexamine your technique.
You may be looking in the mirror and asking, “why are my gums swollen?” Even if you think you are doing everything right, your sore gums may be a symptom of gum disease. If you visit your dentist, he or she may say that you have periodontal disease (also known as gum disease). What does this mean? It depends on the severity of your gum disease.
Many people get gingivitis, which is less severe if caught early but does cause inflammation of the gums. Many people with early stages of gingivitis do not experience pain with their inflamed gums. A more serious form of gum disease is periodontitis, which can lead to tooth loss and other dental issues.
While proper dental hygiene can help prevent and reverse early gum disease, it’s always a good idea to tell your dentist if you have loose or shifting teeth, receding gums, bad breath or bad taste in your mouth, or experience gum swelling accompanied by redness or tenderness.
Gums and Canker Sores
If you have good brushing and flossing habits you may still be complaining, “my gums are swollen!” Take a closer look at your gumline. Do you see any white sores? You may be surprised to learn that you can get canker sores on your gums, not just on the insides of your mouth or under your tongue.
Canker sores are painful, annoying, and often persistent, but they are not contagious. The sores may last for a couple of weeks.
Tips for Preventing Sore, Swollen, and Bleeding Gums
While swollen gums are likely to happen to everyone from time to time, you don’t need (nor should you) settle for painful gums. While a yearly trip to the dentist is always a good idea to make sure you’re practicing good dental hygiene, there are ways to seek gum pain relief at home.
Are you wondering how to treat swollen gums and how to reduce gum swelling? Read on:
Brush at least 2x a day
The general and ideal rule for brushing is after each meal or snack, but for many people, that’s not feasible. Brushing your teeth at least twice a day for around two minutes can help prevent swollen gums. Don’t forget to use the proper brushing technique.
If you are one of those people who flosses when you remember, you’re not completely in the wrong, but it’s better to make flossing a daily habit. Adding a few minutes to your daily dental hygiene routine beats having gums swollen.
Rinse with Mouthwash daily
Dental health experts recommend using an antiseptic mouthwash daily. An antiseptic mouthwash prevents the growth of bacteria. As we mentioned earlier, too much bacteria can lead to gum disease. Most mouthwash on the market contains alcohol so if you are sensitive to alcohol or would like an alcohol-free version, talk with your dentist.
Eat a Well-Balanced Diet
If you are wondering how to reduce swelling on your gumline, eating a well-balanced diet is one of the easiest ways to prevent swollen gums. While there are many essential vitamins and minerals to get each day, Vitamin C is particularly beneficial to gum health.
This vitamin strengthens your gums and the soft tissue you in your mouth. It can also protect against gum disease. Want to eat something more than citrus? Potatoes and leafy greens are other good sources of Vitamin C.
Drink plenty of water
We always hear how important it is to drink enough water throughout the day. If you aren’t getting the recommended amount, you may want to boost your intake. Not only does water help to flush food particles from your teeth, but it can also promote saliva production (which is good for dental health).
Say No to Tobacco
Wondering how to make swollen gums go down? Ditch your tobacco habit. Whether you use smokeless tobacco or cigarettes, it’s never too late to quit. Cigarettes decrease the flow of blood in your gums and reduces Vitamin C levels. Chewing tobacco “eats” away at your gumline and increases your risk of gum disease.
Be Careful About Extremely Hot or Cold or Drinks
If you suffer from swollen gums, food and drink that is too hot or too cold can be painful. Until you find a swollen gums remedy that heals the sensitivity, try to keep food and drink lukewarm.
Ever notice how your body feels achy and stiff when you’re stressed out? Thanks to increasing levels of your stress hormone, cortisol, your body experiences inflammation (which can cause pain). Finding ways to relax can be effective at reducing swollen gums.
Benzocaine is a topical anesthetic which is in many OTC oral products. Benzocaine can temporarily relieve gum pain but is not intended to be used long term, and you should read the packaging carefully.
This spice, with anti-inflammatory properties, is one of the many home remedies for swollen gums. Mix ¼ teaspoon of turmeric powder with a little water to make a paste, apply the paste to the gums, leave on for five minutes and then gently massage for a minute or so. Rinse your mouth with warm water and repeat this treatment twice a day for one or two weeks.
Always keep your hands clean before putting fingers in your mouth and talk with a dentist if swelling persists.
Want to know more on how to get rid of swollen gums? This product is most likely already in your medicine cabinet. Hydrogen peroxide is good for reducing inflammation, but make sure you only use a 3% solution. Mix equal parts hydrogen peroxide and water, swish the solution around in your mouth (focusing on your gums and teeth) for about 30 seconds. Rinse with warm water.
You can also mix one teaspoon of baking soda with hydrogen peroxide to make a paste. Rub the paste on your gums, and rinse your mouth with water after one minute. These treatments can be done two or three times a week. Always use caution when using hydrogen peroxide; never swallow the solutions.
A salt water treatment is an effective swollen gums home remedy that is easy and convenient. Rinse your mouth with a solution of salt and lukewarm water, twice a day. Use about one teaspoon of salt.
You can also rub your gums with salt after you’ve brushed your teeth. Don’t leave the salt on your gums too long, just a few seconds. Rinse with warm water and do only once a day. It can also be used as a preventative after your gums are healthy.
Warm and Cold Compresses
A warm compress followed by a cold one can offer relief when your gums are swollen. First, soak a clean cloth in warm water, wring out, and hold to your face for five minutes. Next, wrap an ice pack or a bag of frozen veggies in a towel. Hold the cold compress against your face until slightly numb (always use a towel).
Repeat this warm/cold cycle for two to three times. Never place compresses directly on gums, only the face.
Black Tea Bags
The tannins in black tea are known to help reduce inflammation. Steep a tea bag in boiling water for few minutes as you would when making tea. Remove the bag and let it cool until it is warm (not hot). Place the tea bag on your swollen gums for 10 to 15 minutes, rinse your mouth with a salt water solution (as mentioned above), and repeat once a day for three to five days.
If you don’t have an aloe vera plant, it’s time to get one. Carefully cut an aloe vera leaf from the plant and cut it open to get the gel. Rub the gel on your gums, massaging for a few minutes and rinse with warm water. Feel free to do this treatment a few times a day until you see an improvement.
Tea Tree Oil
Tea tree oil is a multi-purpose essential oil with anti-inflammatory properties. To use, mix a few drops of oil in a glass of warm water and use as a mouthwash. You may also find it beneficial to use a toothpaste that contains tea tree oil. Be careful not to swallow tea tree oil as it can cause stomach discomfort.
Oil pulling is gaining in popularity and is a great home remedy for dental health. Put one tablespoon of sesame, coconut, or olive oil in your mouth. Never gargle or swallow the oil. Swish around in your mouth for 15 to 20 minutes, spit out the oil in the garbage (not down the drain), rinse with warm water, and brush your teeth. Do this once a day.
Just as Vitamin C is essential to your gum health, getting enough Vitamin D is beneficial, too. Get enough sunlight and add salmon, egg, and sunflower seeds to your diet. Supplements may be helpful as well.