Red and swollen gums: causes and possible treatments


Red and swollen gums: causes and possible treatments

If you are here, it is because you have noticed that your gums look red and swollen. Indeed, you know very well that the gums are the base that allows us to maintain our teeth correctly. It is therefore essential to keep them healthy in order to maintain good oral health and oral hygiene. They are normally pink, so it is not normal that they change color. 

Here is a guide that will inform you about the causes and possible treatments if you have red and swollen gums.  

What does healthy gum look like?

A healthy gum is normally light pink in color. It does not bleed when you eat or when you brush. The crown of the tooth is therefore perfectly visible. The root of the tooth is located in the jawbone. The gum covers this bone and surrounds the tooth. There is a small 3mm deep groove between the gum and the tooth.

Red and swollen gums: What is it ?

Swollen gums are most often a sign of gum inflammation or gingivitis. There are other, rarer causes of swollen gums. Inflammation of the gums, which is characterized by swollen, red and possibly sensitive gums, is most often the result of an accumulation of dental plaque. They are also much softer to the touch. If gingivitis is not treated in time, it can lead to tooth loosening or even tooth loss. However, it may also be a sign of an abscessed tooth or wisdom teeth.

The different causes of red and swollen gums

Red and swollen gums that are not quickly treated can quickly turn into a gum infection or abscess. This infection is more painful than gingivitis. Indeed, it requires a faster intervention of your dental surgeon. It is therefore particularly important to know the causes of red and swollen gums.

Here are the different causes of a red and swollen gum:

  • Taking certain medications: Estrogen-progestin drugs with a high progesterone content can be responsible for the appearance of gingival hypertrophy. These are generally Nifedipine, Diphenilhydantoin-based drugs or Ciclosporin A.
  • Hematological diseases: leukemia generally has oral repercussions such as diffuse or localized gingival hypertrophy;
  • Vitamin C deficiency or hypothyroidism: They generally lead to an increase in volume accompanied by redness and sensitivity.
  • Smoking: Because smoking weakens your body's ability to fight infection, it is more difficult to fight gum inflammation. Once your gums are irritated, smoking makes it more difficult to fight the irritation.
  • A poorly fitted denture: It slightly injures the gums when it is fitted. Moreover, the compression of the gum changes the color which explains why it becomes red.
  • Brushing your teeth too hard: You don't need to use a hard-bristled toothbrush to brush your teeth properly. Soft toothpastes and extra soft or flexible bristles will do the trick.

Different remedies to relieve red and swollen gums

There are different natural or medical remedies that really relieve the pain you have with red and swollen gums. However, it is important to know that an appointment with the dentist is mandatory to understand the origin of your red and swollen gum problem and to treat this dental inflammation as soon as possible.

Here are the different remedies to relieve red and swollen gums.

1) Peppermint and baking soda mouthwash

Peppermint essential oil has analgesic, anti-bacterial and anaesthetic properties that will help relieve gums. Baking soda sanitizes inflamed gums.

Here is the recipe for this mouthwash:

  • In a glass, pour 2 teaspoons of baking soda
  • Add 2 drops of peppermint essential oil.
  • Stir so that the powder absorbs the essential oil then thin with ½ glass of water.
  • Mix again and use this preparation as a mouthwash for lunch and dinner.

2) Self-massage of the hands

Its main purpose is to allow you to properly massage your painful and irritated gums. To do this, you must massage your hands and then your gums.

Here is what you must do:

  • Prepare a massage oil by pouring 3 drops of tea tree essential oil into 1 teaspoon of jojoba oil and mix.
  • Massage your hands with this oil, focusing on the gum areas.
  • Do it on each thumb, just above the root of the nail and at the teeth
  • Then do it on the other fingers, just above the root of the nails.

3) Homeopathy

It is used to relieve pain depending on the appearance of your gums. There are several medicines to choose from if you have red and swollen gums.

You can take 3 granules three times a day:

  • Apis 5 CH: if the gums are red or pink and swollen
  • Mercurius Solubilis 5 CH: if the gums are whitish or red and swollen, with hypersalivation and bad breath
  • Kreosotum 5 CH: if the gums are dark red/blue and bleeding
  • Belladonna 5 CH: if the gums are very red and painful.

4) Applying cold to the swollen cheek

An effective technique to help relieve an abscessed tooth. You can use crushed ice in a cloth or a wet compress from the freezer, to be applied for up to 10 minutes at a time.

Effective techniques to treat gingivitis

All of the techniques that you will use to treat gingivitis will allow you to remove some or all of the plaque. It is important to be careful to use all of the techniques on a daily basis so that you can get better as quickly as possible.

Here are all the effective techniques to cure gingivitis :

1) Use a good toothbrush

Toothbrushes with soft or electric bristles are much more adapted to this oral problem than toothbrushes with hard bristles. Indeed, they allow to better clean the teeth and to massage the gums gently because they are less aggressive for the oral cavity. To treat persistent gingivitis, it is therefore better to use a soft-bristled toothbrush or possibly an electric toothbrush.

2) Spend more time brushing your teeth

Gingivitis is the result of poor toothbrushing. Plaque is made up of bacteria that feed on food debris and calcify by absorbing the minerals in saliva. Tartar becomes lodged under the gums, causing an infection. Increasing the brushing time by 30 seconds on the infected area reduces plaque and decreases the risk of bacteria settling.

3) Consume less sugar

Sugar feeds bacteria, so if you eat something sweet at night and forget to brush your teeth, you run the risk of making your gingivitis worse. So you should brush your teeth if you have the opportunity after eating sugar and don't forget to clean your tongue. The tongue has a tendency to accumulate bacteria and spread them into the oral cavity.

4) Brush your teeth the right way

It is important to know that the best way to brush your teeth is to brush the molars from the gum line to the top of the crown. Then brush the canines and front teeth. You must do the same thing on the inside of the teeth without forcing. You must finish by going back and forth on the groove and then brushing the tongue. This brushing with the Bass brushing technique should last 2 minutes without forgetting any area.

5) Use dental floss

Some food debris that gets lodged between your teeth and cannot be dislodged with a simple brushing are the main allies of gingivitis. To treat your infection quickly and avoid periodontitis, you must therefore rigorously clean your interdental spaces. If they are narrow, you will simply use dental floss, taking care not to damage your gums. If they are wide, the ideal will be to use interdental brushes to get rid of these future bacteria.

6) Scaling

The best way to cure gingivitis quickly is to have a scaling done at a dentist's office. Indeed, removing the dental plaque makes it possible to find a good oral hygiene. It is important to do this scaling as soon as possible after the symptoms appear because gingivitis can turn into periodontitis during pregnancy or after an emotional shock. It is important to know how scaling is done by asking your dentist. 

7) Grafting in the case of exposed roots

If your dentist notices that the gum is receding on one or two teeth, he or she will be able to reinforce it with a graft that covers the exposed root. To do this, he will remove a small piece of tissue from the roof of the mouth. Your teeth can become very sensitive to cold and brushing.

You can use the Y-Brush toothbrush. It is a toothbrush that allows you to brush all the teeth and their faces at the same time as well as all the spaces of the teeth including the most difficult to access areas. You can also use the dental floss that it offers. Indeed, it has a biodegradable ecological handle that is very easy to use.


We hope this guide has helped you understand more specifically what it means to have red and swollen gums. We also hope that you understand why this oral problem affects you and not someone else. The remedies and techniques can ideally be used by anyone and are recommended. However, you should ask your doctor when it comes to homeopathic treatments. 


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