Swollen gums can be caused by a variety of conditions including infections, nutritional deficiencies, and hormonal fluctuations (such as during pregnancy). Because swollen gums can also be an indication of gum disease, it is best to contact your dentist and schedule an appointment to determine the cause of your swollen gums. If you experience pain while waiting to see your dentist, try these home remedies to ease the pain and discomfort of swollen gums.
Because salt acts as a natural disinfectant, the use of salt water is a tried-and-true method for soothing irritated gums. The salt reduces the bacteria in the mouth, which helps reduce the inflammation.
How to: Create a salt water rinse by dissolving one teaspoon of table salt into a cup of lukewarm water. Sip the salt water solution and swish it around your mouth for 15-20 seconds. Spit, and repeat the process until you have used all of the solution. Try using a salt water rinse twice per day.
Oil pulling, another rinse-and-spit method to soothe inflamed gums, is an ancient Ayurvedic remedy that has gained strong popularity due to the increasing popularity of coconut oil. Oil pulling not only heals gums, but this detoxifying practice also removes bacteria and prevents plaque build up.
How to: Swish up to a tablespoon of coconut oil in your mouth for at least 20 minutes. This practice is best done first thing in the morning, on an empty stomach, and before brushing teeth. Thoroughly spit the oil out and rinse with water before brushing your teeth.
Hot and Cold Compresses
Hot and cold compresses are frequently used to reduce pain and inflammation for muscle or sports injuries, but they are equally effective for oral first aid. Cold compresses are useful because they reduce the swelling of soft tissue such as gums. Alternatively, hot compresses soothe and help relieve pain.
How to: Alternate hot and cold compresses until pain and swelling subside. For hot compresses, something as simple as a warm, wet washcloth held against your face will work. For cold compresses, an ice pack wrapped in a tea towel is quite effective. Alternatively, ice pack head wraps are convenient and efficient.
Baking soda, a common ingredient in mouthwashes, toothpaste, and whitening products, is also an effective ingredient to combat swollen gums. Like salt, baking soda also cleans the mouth and aids in the reduction of oral bacteria and eliminates acidic toxins.
How to: Create a thick paste of baking soda and water. Using a clean finger or a toothbrush, apply the paste to your gums.
Black tea is renowned for its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. Thanks to the tannins in black tea, black tea can be useful in treating swollen gums.
How to: Steep a high-quality black tea bag in boiling water for 2-3 minutes. Once the tea bag has cooled slightly, place tea bag on your gums for up to 15 minutes, and then rinse with salt water.
If your gum pain persists or these remedies do not reduce any swelling, speak with your dentist as soon as possible to rule out any infections or severe diseases.