How to shrink swollen gums

Written by shannon cotton
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Swelling of the gums is common and has many causes, ranging from toothpaste sensitivity to gum disease. When you have swollen gums, the triangular portions of gum between your teeth become enlarged, and might be uncomfortable or might bleed. You can take steps at home to shrink your swollen gums and keep your mouth healthy, but you should always see your dentist to determine the cause of persistent swelling.

Skill level:


  1. 1

    Rinse your mouth with warm salt water to reduce swelling and discomfort.

  2. 2

    Eat a well-balanced diet. Malnutrition can lead to gum swelling. Vitamin C deficiency can also lead to gum swelling or gum disease; be sure to get enough vitamin C in your diet.

  3. 3

    Try switching to a different toothpaste, and avoid mouthwash. Your current products may be irritating your gums.

  4. 4

    Practice good oral hygiene. Brush your teeth at least twice a day and floss once a day. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush to avoid irritating swollen gums.

  5. 5

    Avoid products known to irritate the gums, such as tobacco and alcohol, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center.

Tips and warnings

  • Ask your doctor if any medications you are taking may be causing your gums to swell. If possible, try switching to another medication with your doctor's approval.
  • Have your teeth cleaned by your dentist twice a year to prevent gum disease.
  • Acetaminophen or ibuprofen can help relieve tenderness and discomfort while you are waiting for your gums to heal.
  • See your dentist promptly if you have other symptoms of gingivitis, which include bright red or purple gums, gum bleeding or tenderness, shiny gums or mouth sores.
  • If your swelling is caused by gingivitis, it is important to see your dentist regularly and practice excellent oral hygiene to avoid developing more severe gum disease, according to the University of Michigan Health System.

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