Swollen gums; Gingival swelling
Swollen gums may be caused by:
Gum swelling is common. It may involve one or many of the triangle-shaped areas of gum between teeth. These sections are called papillae.
Occasionally, the gums swell enough to block the teeth completely.
Swollen gums are abnormally enlarged, bulging, or protruding.
Eat a well-balanced diet that includes fruits and vegetables. Avoid sugary foods and drinks.
Avoid foods such as popcorn and chips that can lodge under the gums and cause swelling.
Avoid things that can irritate your gums such as mouthwashes, alcohol, and tobacco. Change your toothpaste brand and stop using mouthwashes if sensitivity to these dental products is causing your swollen gums.
Brush and floss your teeth regularly. See a periodontist or dentist at least every 6 months.
If your swollen gums are caused by a reaction to a drug, talk to your health care provider about changing the type of medicine you use. Never stop taking a medicine without first talking to your provider.
Your dentist will examine your mouth, teeth, and gums. You will be asked questions about your medical history and symptoms, such as:
Your dentist or hygienist will show you how to care for your teeth and gums.
Call your provider if changes to your gums last longer than 2 weeks.
Ball JW, Dains JE, Flynn JA, Solomon BS, Stewart RW. Ear, nose, and throat. In: Ball JW, Dains JE, Flynn JA, Solomon BS, Stewart RW, eds. Seidel's Guide to Physical Examination. 9th ed. St Louis, MO: Elsevier; 2019:chap 13.
Chow AW. Infections of the oral cavity, neck, and head. In: Bennett JE, Dolin R, Blaser MJ, eds. Mandell, Douglas and Bennett's Principles and Practice of Infectious Diseases, Updated Edition. 8th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2015:chap 65.
John V, Weddell JA, Shin DE, Jones JE. Gingivitis and periodontal disease. In: Dean JA, ed. McDonald and Avery's Dentistry of the Child and Adolescent. 10th ed. St Louis, MO: Elsevier; 2016:chap 14.
Pedigo RA, Amsterdam JT. Oral medicine. In: Walls RM, Hockberger RS, Gausche-Hill M, eds. Rosen's Emergency Medicine: Concepts and Clinical Practice. 9th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2018:chap 60.
Review Date: 2/5/2018
Reviewed By: Ilona Fotek, DMD, MS, Dental Healing Arts, Jupiter, FL. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 9-1-1 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only—they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997-2010 A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.