The Cause of Swollen Gums

Jamie J. Alexander on June 6, 2016

What are the causes for swollen gums?

When plaque accumulates on the surface of your teeth, the bacteria in the plaque, and the acids that the bacteria produce as they feed on the carbohydrates you eat, irritate the gum tissue and can begin to erode your dental enamel. The tissue becomes “inflamed” due to the irritation, resulting in inflamed or swollen gums. Your immune system reacts by sending additional blood cells to the site of the irritation to prevent bacteria and viruses from entering the disrupted tissue and from causing more damage to the body. Even at this early stage of “gum disease”, You are likely to observe your gum tissue becoming redder, somewhat puffy, and tender. You may see some bleeding when you brush and floss.

If dental plaque is not regularly removed through professional teeth cleaning, it will naturally grow below the gum line and attach itself to the roots of your teeth. This will cause more inflammation of your gum tissue and compromise the health of your teeth and the bone tissue surrounding tooth roots. At Jamie J. Alexander, D.D.S., our goal is to have you come in and have us remove plaque at regular appropriate intervals so it does not grow below the gum line!

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When gum inflammation grows below the gum line, you have “periodontitis”. Plaque below the gum line can become a hard calculus of bacteria, called “tartar” that is difficult to remove. The best treatment for this is a “deep cleaning” composed of “scaling and root planing”. If periodontitis is left untreated, it will advance and damage bone and gum tissue. Teeth can become loose, and affected teeth can even fall out or need to be removed.

In some people, the development of periodontitis can occur relatively quickly so swollen gums should be taken seriously as a sign that gum infection is present and needs to be treated right away. As our patient, you will have regular periodontal exams and all signs of gum disease will be taken seriously. We precisely track our patient’s gum health by taking several measurements of the gum tissue levels and pockets. This is initially assessed by Dr. Alexander as part of our comprehensive evaluation for new patients to our office. Annually this is rechecked and charted by our expert dental hygienists, Vicki and Tammy.

When gum inflammation grows below the gum line, it causes periodontitis, which can damage bone and gum tissue

Maintaining firm, uninflamed gum tissue is essential for oral health and for reducing the spread of oral bacteria throughout your body where it can affect your overall health in many ways.

If your gums become swollen or bleed when you clean your teeth, give Jamie J. Alexander, D.D.S. a call at (561) 732-8877 or you can request an appointment at our office, located on Federal Highway in Boynton Beach, here.