Gum swelling

Dr Rosalind Ho BDS (Spore) MFGDP (UK)

Understand its causes and treatments.

Occasionally, a patient may present with a swelling also called epulis in the mouth. This may or may not be painful and is unsightly and troublesome as it may bleed spontaneously.

Common Causes of gum swelling;

1 Gum inflammation or gingivitis due to poor oral hygiene is the most common cause

2 Infection ( Virus or Fungal)

3 Malnutrition–Being deficient in vitamins, especially vitamins B and C.

4 Poorly fitted dentures or dental appliances

5 Side effect of medication–Some Seizure drugs , immunosupressant drugs, etc may cause gum overgrowth. If too excessive, the doctor should be notified for possible alternatives.

6 Pregnancy–it is due to the hormonal changes and good OH is important.

7 Food stuck between teeth

8 sensitivity to toothbrush or toothpaste

How Long does it take to recover

It depends. If it is due to inflammation, infection, food stuck, poor nutrition or appliances, removing the cause will allow recovery which may take more than a week.


1 Remove the cause (food, bacteria, poor nutrition, etc)– A thorough scaling/polishing is required. Maintenance of plaque control can help to reduce the incidents of gum swelling.

2 Antibiotics and anti-inflammatory medication may be prescribed especially if there is underlying infection.

3 An antiseptic mouthwash may help. Salt water rinse also proved to be useful.

4 An x-ray is needed to see if there is any underlying cause. It shows the health of the teeth involved, bone level and any other pathology.

5 Good oral care including regular brushing and flossing of teeth and regular visits to the dentist.

6 For bigger swellings that may take too long to resolve, heat cautery to remove excess tissue and curetting of the pocket to remove granulation tissues proved to be effective.

7 Take some Vitamins B and C supplements if not taking enough from fruits.

Gum swelling can be avoided. More care of the oral health will stave off problems and prevent lengthy and exorbitant procedures caused by managing pain and subsequent loss of teeth.

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