What Causes Swollen Gums?

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Swollen gums is a relatively common ailment. In the case of gingivitis, it can be a sign of gum disease. Swollen gums usually bleed very easily and may constantly feel sore. There are several causes of swollen gums, particularly the buildup of plaque.

Plaque Accumulation

  • The buildup of dental plaque, a thin, bacterial biofilm that accumulates over the teeth, is a major cause of swollen gums. Plaque builds up largely because of poor dental health and hygiene. Plaque also can lead to to cavities and periodontal issues.

Food Particles

  • Food particles that become stuck between the teeth and gums can cause localized swelling. Generally, once the problem food particle is removed, the swelling of the gums will subside.


  • Pregnancy also causes gums to swell. Pregnancy-induced gingivitis results from changes in hormonal levels that increase the flow of blood to the gums, causing them to become more swollen, sensitive and irritating.


  • Malnutrition can often result in swollen gums. Vitamin C is vital for maintaining healthy teeth and gums. An extreme deficiency of this vitamin can cause swollen gums and may even result in teeth falling out.


  • Dentures, retainers, braces and other dental devices also can cause swollen gums. The best solution is get new fittings.

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