What Causes Swollen Gums?

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.

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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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