How Do I Treat Puffy Gums?

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  • Written By: Angela Farrer
  • Edited By: Rachel Catherine Allen
  • Last Modified Date: 31 March 2020
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You can generally treat puffy gums by starting a more intense daily dental hygiene regimen that includes thorough brushing and flossing. Puffy gums are often signs of gingivitis, a common gum disease caused by excessive bacteria. Many dentists recommend specific types of toothbrushes and brushing techniques in order to remove harmful bacteria and to allow existing puffy gums to heal. Certain dietary changes can also help prevent further gum swelling by strengthening the underlying bones with needed vitamins and minerals. More severely swollen gums may require a visit to the dentist in order to treat more serious swelling that may be a sign of an infection called periodontitis.

Consistent and proper dental hygiene is the simplest way to treat and prevent puffy gums. Dentists often point to improper brushing as a cause of mildly swollen gums. Many people feel that hard brushing with a vigorous side-to-side motion is the right way to scrub teeth clean, but this method can frequently damage the sensitive tissue that comprises gums. Brushing in small circular motions with a soft-bristled toothbrush is usually considered a better way to rid teeth and gums of the harmful bacteria that can lead to cavities and gum disease. Many dentists advise patients with swollen gums to brush thoroughly with this method as soon as possible after each meal or snack during the day.


Flossing is another important practice in keeping teeth and gums healthy, though dentists also report that it needs to be done with a specific technique. It can often be easy to jam floss too hard in between teeth, causing it to dig into the soft gum tissue and make the swelling worse. If you experience difficulty getting floss through your teeth because they are spaced tightly together, working the piece of floss slowly in between the teeth with a back-and-forth motion often helps this problem.

Puffy gums also frequently see improvement from adding certain foods to your diet and reducing others. Carbonated drinks have been shown to pull calcium away from bones and teeth, increasing the chances of dental problems. Foods high in sugar can also act as magnets for bacterial growth at the gum line and in between the teeth, which also multiplies the chances of developing gingivitis. Adding healthy foods such as milk, cheese, fruits, and vegetables is considered another important measure in reducing puffy gums. Drinking plenty of fresh water instead of high-sugar sodas will also help to clean away the bacteria responsible for common gum diseases.


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Post 3

Puffy gums is a sign for me to visit a dentist for a routine cleaning. After a good clean-up and regular brushing, the puffiness goes away.

Post 2

@simrin-- Sometimes, puffy gums are not due to a hygiene problem but rather due to sensitive gums.

I also have very sensitive gums and I've experienced puffy gums before from simply brushing too hard or using too much floss. This might be the issue with you as well. Make sure that your toothbrush is soft and be gentle while flossing so that you don't make your gums bleed.

Gargling with an alcohol-free mouthwash or just salt water will help. The reason I say alcohol-free mouthwash is because alcohol can irritate the gums as well.

Post 1

My gums have been very puffy and irritated for the past few days. It's not my entire mouth, just the gums on one side of my mouth.

My gums look swollen and red and I have trouble eating on that side because it hurts.

What can I do? I'm already brushing and flossing regularly, so I don't know what the problem is.

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