Swollen gums, which are also referred to as gingival swelling or gingivitis, are a common but preventable dental condition, and can lead to serious complications if left untreated. Some people might notice, while flossing or brushing their teeth, that their gums are red and swollen. Others might not realize it until a dental hygienist or dentist informs them of the condition.
According to the National Library of Medicine, dental work and the use of certain types of dental devices can be a cause of red swollen gums. Dentures that do not properly fit into the mouth can cause the gums to swell and become red. Fillings that become loose or cracked, poorly fitted crowns and procedures such as root scaling might also cause redness and swelling of the gums.
According to the Mayo Clinic, poor dental hygiene is a common cause of swelling and redness of the gums. Poor brushing techniques or not brushing the teeth frequently enough after eating or drinking acidic or sweet foods can allow plaque to build up, causing redness and swelling of the gums. Plaque that sits on the teeth for several days turns into tartar, which can irritate the gums around the bottom of the tooth, resulting in redness and swelling.
According to the National Library of Medicine, infections of the mouth and teeth can be a cause of red swollen gums. Viral or fungal infections, such as thrush, can cause redness and swelling of the gums, palate or tongue. An abscess in a tooth can also lead to red swollen gums and infection if the abscess bursts or is left untreated.
Irritations to the gums can be a cause of redness and swelling, according to the National Library of Medicine. The use of harsh mouthwashes or other hygiene products in the mouth can cause the gums to become red and swollen. Using chewable tobacco, smoking, drinking alcohol or eating abrasive foods such as popcorn can also be a cause of red swollen gums.
According to the National Library of Medicine, certain medical conditions can cause red swollen gums. Scurvy is a medical condition related to a lack of consumption of ascorbic acid, also called vitamin C, and can cause red swollen gums. Malnutrition is another medical condition that can cause the gums to swell and become red.
According to the Mayo Clinic, changes in hormone levels while a woman is pregnant can be a cause of red and swollen gums. Pregnant women may notice that their gums bleed more easily and frequently during pregnancy than other times. In addition, gestational diabetes during pregnancy may increase the risk of developing red swollen gums.