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Have Swollen Gums? Try These Home Remedies

Gums play a vital role in dental health and overall well-being. Here are 15 remedies to treat your swollen gums at home.

Senior women in pain for having swollen gum problem

What are Swollen Gums?

Gums play a vital role in dental health and overall well-being. Swollen gums can occur due to excess fluid in the soft tissue of the gums. This may be accompanied by redness, pains, sores, ulcers and bleeding. Symptoms can vary in intensity or remain constant. Gum pain can be described as a sharp, dull, stabbing or burning pain and the area affected is dependent on the cause.

Causes of Swollen Gums

Causes of swollen gums around a tooth or a section in the mouth may include one of the following:

Poor dental hygiene

This is one of the most common causes of swollen gums. During meals, food bits may get trapped between the tooth and the gum line. Flossing and brushing your teeth regularly should be able to remove the remaining debris. However, if this is not removed over time and remains lodged in the mouth, it may cause the gum tissue to swell and a risk of dental cavities and gum infection.

Periodontal disease

A condition often diagnosed in adults, periodontal disease happens because of inflammation of the gums that support and surround the teeth. These infections occur because of plaque buildup. Plaque is a sticky film of bacteria that builds upon the teeth. Hardened plaque is known as tartar, and it becomes challenging to remove.

Tooth abscess

This condition deals with a pocket of pus that is caused by a bacterial infection. There are two types of abscesses that could occur:

  • Periapical abscess: the result of tooth decay or fractures, affecting the root of a tooth
  • Periodontal abscess: affects the gum tissue

Both types may cause swelling or redness in the gums. Other symptoms may appear for this condition as well:

  • Severe and persistent toothache that not only hurts in the mouth area but also in the jawbone, neck or ear
  • Sensitivity to hot and cold temperatures
  • Sensitivity to the pressure of chewing or biting
  • Feverish
  • Swelling of the face or cheek
  • Tender, swollen lymph nodes under your jaw or in your neck
  • A sudden rush of foul-smelling and tasting fluid in the mouth, or pain relief when there is an abscess rupture
  • Difficulty in breathing or swallowing


Hormones are significantly changed during pregnancy. This may incur even in women who have perfect oral health. The changing hormones can cause increased blood flow to the gums, making them more sensitive to swelling.

Other causes

At times, aside from the cited reasons above, there can be other health issues such as these:

  • Side effects due to medication
  • Malnutrition
  • Sensitivities to oral products (an ingredient in toothpaste or mouthwash)
  • Wearing poorly fitted dentures, crowns, or other dental appliances

After identifying the cause of swollen gums, it is time to take action by considering the available treatments for your condition.

Treatment & Home Remedies of Swollen Gums

Medical treatment begins for swollen gums after paying a visit to the dentist. The medication may include mouthwashes, ointments or toothpaste.

Otherwise, there are some home remedies that you can try.

  • Saltwater

Saltwater rinse is a simple method to promote oral health and soothe inflammation in the gums. To make this solution, you would need about 1 teaspoon of salt in 1 cup of warm water should be sufficient per round. Let the salt dissolve in the mixture. Afterwards, gently keep the mixture in the mouth for around 30 seconds before spitting it out. You can rinse up to three times a day to reduce swelling temporarily.

  • Essential oils

Essential oils may be able to promote general oral health. For instance, a review belonging to the Evidence-Based Dentistry journal considered that mouthwashes containing essential oils managed to reduce plaque and inflammation more effectively than medicated ones for persons with gingivitis. There are other studies being carried out to validate the use of these elements. Nevertheless, it is advisable to check for other ingredients such as alcohol in the mouthwashes, as these may irritate the gums further.

  • Aloe vera

Aloe vera is a common plant that may assist in helping swollen gums. Many companies use aloe vera as part of their active ingredients for mouthwash. However, others may choose to apply the gel from the plant directly. Overall, keeping the product in the mouth for a few minutes before removing, it may help reduce the swelling.

  • Turmeric

Turmeric is a yellow spice that is often present in Indian dishes. Turmeric may alleviate the swelling due to its anti-inflammatory nature. There may be turmeric gel or powder available in the market to brush your teeth with.

  • Warm and cold compresses

Warm and cold compresses are able to soothe pains and swelling in swollen gums. For this to work, you would need to prepare a warm cloth against your face (at the affected gums’ side, but outside the mouth) for about 5 minutes. After, wrap a bag of crushed ice in another cloth and place it against your face for 5 minutes. Then, repeat this 2-3 times per cycle, 2-3 times per day.

  • Hydrogen peroxide

The use of hydrogen peroxide solution is paired with water for rinsing. For basic use, mix 3 tablespoons of 3% hydrogen peroxide with 3 tablespoons of water. Swirl the solution in your mouth for 30 seconds before spitting it out. This can be repeated 2-3 times a week until the swelling subsides.

  • Tea bags

Usually, teas contain plant compounds called tannins. Research suggested that tannins can reduce gum pain as they can kill the bacteria irritating the gums. As such, drinking green, hibiscus and black teas can incur a puckering feeling in the mouth as they contain high levels of tannin. You may keep a tea bag in boiled water for a few minutes, cooling it slightly, before applying it directly to the pained area for 5 minutes.

  • Clove oil

You may apply clove oil to the swollen gums and massage gently. Leave it on without washing it off. You can repeat this step every few hours. Clove oil has antimicrobial properties and serves as an analgesic.

  • Ginger

For this method, you would need a small piece of ginger and half a teaspoon of salt. Crush the ginger and add the salt into a paste. After, rub it onto the swollen part and leave it for 10-12 minutes. After, rinse your mouth with normal water. Ginger serves as an anti-inflammatory product.

  • Baking soda

Baking soda also has antiseptic and antibacterial properties. You can use baking soda solution to rinse your mouth or to brush your teeth.

  • Lemon juice

Mix a tablespoon of lemon juice with water. Gargle this solution twice a day until you find relief. Lemon contains antimicrobial compounds that can kill microbes. In addition, it balances the pH level in your mouth.

  • Lawsonia inermis leaves

Otherwise known as henna, these leaves are antibiotic in their properties. Boil a bunch of leaves in water for about 15 minutes. After, gargle with this water to get relief from gum pain.

  • Castor seed oil

For this, you would need to procure a camphor tablet. Crush the tablet and make a paste by mixing some drops of castor seed oil. Rub the affected gums with the paste. After 2-3 minutes, rinse with warm water to remove the paste.

  • Apple cider vinegar

As apple cider vinegar contains mild acids that bring back the pH balance in the mouth, this reduces the infection on the gums. To utilise this home remedy as a rinsing solution, mix a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar with a glass of water.

  • Vanilla extract

Use a clean finger or a Q-tip to apply this product to the affected gum. You do not need to rinse it off. This can be applied twice a day. Vanilla extract serves as an antiseptic and analgesic.

Gum Disease in Seniors

According to CDC’s report, about 2 in 3 American adults aged 65 years and older have gum disease. This statistic is alarming as many seniors may not have dental insurance or could be homebound. As such, it is necessary to procure regular checkups and in-home care services to help with personal hygiene.

Gum Disease Prevention

To avoid gum infection and inflammation, these are a few general preventive steps to adhere to:

  • Practising good oral hygiene (brushing at least twice a day)
  • Rinsing with mouthwash
  • Drinking plenty of water
  • Boosting your overall immune system
  • Avoid smoking
  • Discussing the side effects of cancer treatments with your doctor (if applicable)
  • Check with your dentist regarding the possibility of tooth abscess below the gum line

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