Categories: Diseases and Conditions

10 Home Remedies for Swollen Gums (Relief Without Antibiotics)

Does brushing or flossing your teeth cause your gums to bleed? Have you noticed gaps between your teeth lately? If yes, then you may have swollen gums.

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Your gums are made of firm, pink tissues that cover your jawbone. When your pink gums begin to appear red and look like they are protruding or bulging out, it might be an indication of swollen gums or what is called gingival swelling in clinical terms.

Gingival swelling is the result of plaque buildup on the gum line and the teeth due to poor oral hygiene. The swelling often begins where the gum meets the teeth, and the gums will start to cover more of your teeth.

Causes

  • Improper maintenance of oral hygiene.
  • Nutritional deficiencies, especially vitamins B and C, or compromised immunity.
  • Systemic diseases like uncontrolled diabetes.
  • Allergy to new oral care products.
  • Poorly fitting oral equipment, such as dentures or dental braces.
  • Viral or fungal infections.
  • Pregnancy may weaken your gums, causing them to become swollen.

Symptoms

  • Gums become red, tender or swollen.
  • Gums bleed while flossing or brushing.
  • Gums pulled away from the teeth or bulging gums.
  • Pus or gaps between your teeth or loose teeth.
  • Experiencing gum sensitivity or pain while chewing.
  • Mouth odor.

Prevention

  • Maintain proper oral hygiene.
  • Eata nutritional, including foods high in vitamins B and C
  • Get regular dental checkups.
  • Brush your teeth twice a day and floss once a day.
  • Use an antimicrobial mouthwash.
  • Avoid smoking and chewing tobacco.

Here are ten home remedies for swollen gums giving relief without antibiotics and easing the discomforts.

Method 1: Warm Compress

A compress is the quickest and easiest method of relieving gingival swelling. Using a warm or cold compress on the affected area can reduce the pain and inflammation associated with swollen gums respectively.

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Single-Step Treatment: Hold a warm compress on the affected area

To get relief from inflamed and painful, swollen gums, apply a warm compress

Alternatively, you can also use a cold compress to get relief. Learn here how to make cold compress at home. Hold the compress against your face for not more than 15 minutes. Do this when you feel inflammation in your gums.

Method 2: Salt Water

Salt has antibacterial properties. It helps you fight a toothache and inhibits the growth and proliferation of infection-causing bacteria by drawing the moisture away from them, making it difficult for the bacteria to survive. (1)

Salt neutralizes the mouth’s pH level, which prevents a bacterial invasion. It also has anti-inflammatory properties that reduce the swelling by soothing the inflamed gums.

Single-Step Treatment: Rinse your mouth with salt water

Use salt water rinse for swollen gums to get relief without antibiotics
  • Dissolve 1 teaspoon of table salt in a glass of warm water.
  • Swish the salt water in your mouth for about 1 minute, then spit it out.

Do this 2 - 3 times a day to reduce swelling and inflammation of the gums.

Method 3: Hydrogen Peroxide

Food-grade hydrogen peroxide is a powerful antibacterial agent and an effective disinfectant. It wipes out the swelling and infection-causing bacteria. Use only food-grade 3% hydrogen peroxide when using it for oral hygiene or a throat infection.

Single-Step Treatment: Rinse your mouth with diluted hydrogen peroxide

Swish around diluted hydrogen peroxide to heal swollen gums
  • Pour 1 cup of warm water into a glass and add 1 tablespoon of 3% hydrogen peroxide to it. Mix well.
  • Rinse your mouth with the solution for 30 seconds, then spit it out.
  • Finish up by rinsing your mouth with warm water.

Do this once every day until you find relief from swollen gums.

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Caution: Do not swallow the hydrogen peroxide solution.

Method 4: Turmeric

Turmeric contains a compound called curcumin, which is an antioxidant. It has powerful antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, which help fight off the bacteria and reduce pain and inflammation of the gums. (2) It also helps in teeth whitening.

Single-Step Treatment: Apply turmeric paste on the gums

Use turmeric paste on swollen gums to get instant relief
  • Mix 2 teaspoons of turmeric powder with enough water to make a paste.
  • Apply the paste on your gums and leave it for 5 minutes.
  • Lightly massage the paste on your gums for 1 minute, then rinse it off with warm water.

Do this twice a day for 1 to 2 weeks to get rid of swollen gums.

Method 5: Aloe Vera

Aloe vera is known to cure various skin conditions, but it can also be used to treat a gum infection. (3) It has anti-inflammatory and plaque-reducing properties that help soothe the swelling and inflammation of the gums and reduce the pain.

Single-Step Treatment: Apply fresh aloe vera gel on the gums

Gently apply fresh aloe vera gel to get rid of swollen gums

Do this twice a day for fast relief from swollen gums.

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Method 6: Oil Pulling

Oil pulling is an Ayurvedic way of treating oral health problems like abscessed tooth and white spots on teeth. In this procedure, extra-virgin coconut oil or sesame oil is used for swishing around your mouth.

Both coconut oil and sesame oil have antibacterial and antifungal properties that remove the thin layer of plaque film formed on the gums and teeth. Both oils also have soothing properties that reduce the redness and irritation of the gums. (4)

Single-Step Treatment: Swish the oil around in your mouth for 15 minutes

Oil pulling is one of the most effective ways to treat oral problems
  • Put 1 tablespoon of extra-virgin coconut oil or sesame oil in your mouth and swish it around for 10 to 15 minutes.
  • Spit it out in a trash can, as spitting it in the drain can clog it. Do not swallow the oil.
  • Rinse your mouth with warm water, then brush your teeth normally.

Do this once a day for 1 week to reduce the gum inflammation.

Method 7: Tea Bag

Regular green or black tea bags can be used as an effective home remedy for swollen gums and enhance oral hygiene. (5) Green tea has antioxidants, while black tea has tannic acid that calms the soreness or inflammation of the gums.

Single-Step Treatment: Place a tea bag on the sore gums

Apply tea bag on swollen gums to ease the pain
  • Boil a cup of water and steep a bag of high quality black or green tea in it.
  • Remove the tea bag and put it in the refrigerator for 15 minutes to cool off.
  • Place the cooled tea bag on your gums for 15 minutes.
  • Rinse your mouth with the steeped green or black tea.

Do this twice a day for 1 week to get relief from sensitive and painful gums.

Method 8: Clove Oil

Clove oil is a very strong antibacterial, antifungal, and antiseptic substance. It kills the infection- and odor-causing bacteria from the first use and prevents their growth. (6) You can rub clove oil directly on your gums, but it is recommended that you dilute it with some carrier oil as it may sting a little.

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Things you’ll need:

Things needed to use clove oil for swollen gums
  • Clove oil – 3 drops
  • Olive oil – ½ teaspoon

Single-Step Treatment: Mix clove and olive oils & apply on the affected area

Apply clove oil on swollen gums to heal the pain and inflammation
  • Mix 3 drops of clove oil in ½ teaspoon of olive oil.
  • Soak a cotton swab in the oil blend and dab it on your gums for 1 to 2 minutes.
  • Rinse your mouth with warm water.

Do this once every day to reduce the swelling and pain in your gums.

Method 9: Tea Tree Oil

Tea tree oil has antiseptic and antibacterial properties that prevent bacteria from spreading and clears off tartar formed on the teeth that are irritating your gums. (7) Use the tea tree oil only in diluted form for oral hygiene purposes. Mixing it with your everyday toothpaste will ensure protection from infection-causing bacteria.

Things you’ll need:

Items needed to use tea tree oil for swollen gums
  • Tea tree oil – 2 drops
  • Toothpaste

Single-Step Treatment: Mix tea tree oil with your toothpaste & brush with it

Brush your teeth with tea tree oil and toothpaste mix
  • Put a pea-sized amount of toothpaste in a mixing bowl and dribble 2 drops of tea tree oil in it.
  • Mix it well and brush your teeth with it as usual.

Do this once every day to prevent or reduce swollen gums.

Method 10: Baking Soda

Baking soda is alkaline in nature, which neutralizes the acidic bacterial wastes and balances the mouth’s pH levels. A balanced pH level is an unfavorable environment for bacteria to survive. It also helps reduce mouth odor.

Baking soda also has cleansing and anti-inflammatory properties similar to common salt that clears off plaque and soothes inflamed gums. (8)

Single-Step Treatment: Brush your teeth with baking soda paste

One of the most effective home remedies for swollen gums is baking soda
  • Mix 1 tablespoon of baking soda with enough warm water to make a thick paste.
  • Brush your teeth with this paste.

Do this once every day to get rid of tender and irritated gums.

Tips

  • You can mix 1 teaspoon of baking soda with enough hydrogen peroxide to make a paste and brush with it. Leave it on for about 1 minute, then rinse your mouth completely. Do this 2 or 3 times a week. Learn different ways to whiten your teeth with baking soda here.
  • Do not brush vigorously, as this can damage your enamel and bruise your gums. Use a brush that has soft nylon bristles.
  • Use a back-and-forth motion when brushing.
  • When using tea tree oil, hydrogen peroxide or baking soda with your toothpaste, do not start brushing from the same place that you began brushing the previous day. Change the positioning every day.
  • Floss religiously, as it removes any remaining food particles that lead to plaque or tartar buildup.
  • Rinse your mouth every day with salt water to clear away any debris or food particles.
  • Use toothpaste that is anti-gingivitis and does not cause tooth sensitivity. This neutralizes the plaque if any.
  • Eat a well-balanced diet.

Resources:

  1. Huynh NC, Everts V, Leethanakul C, Pavasant P, Ampornaramveth RS. Rinsing with Saline Promotes Human Gingival Fibroblast Wound Healing In Vitro. PLOS ONE. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27441729. Published July 21, 2016.
  2. Arunachalam LT, Sudhakar U, Vasanth J, Khumukchum S, Selvam VV. Comparison of anti-plaque and anti-gingivitis effect of curcumin and chlorhexidine mouth rinse in the treatment of gingivitis: A clinical and biochemical study. Journal of Indian Society of Periodontology. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/322706918. Published 2017.
  3. Safiaghdam, Hannaneh, Oveissi, et al. Medicinal plants for gingivitis: a review of clinical trials. Iranian Journal of Basic Medical Sciences. http://ijbms.mums.ac.ir/article_11330.html. Published October 1, 2018.
  4. Shanbhag VKL. Oil pulling for maintaining oral hygiene – A review. Journal of Traditional and Complementary Medicine. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2225411016300281. Published June 6, 2016.
  5. Samar, Prasad, Shilpa, et al. Evaluation of Green Tea Extract on Gingival and Periodontal Status: A Randomized Controlled Pilot Study. Scholars Journal of Dental Science. http://eprints.kku.edu.sa/3782/. Published April 1, 2018.
  6. Lakshmi T, Rajesvar R, Selvaraj A, Parameswari R. Herbal care for dental plaque-induced gingivitis: A review . Journal of Advanced Pharmacy Education & Research. https://japer.in/abstract?article_id=242. Published 2017.
  7. Rahman B, Alkawas S, Zubaidi EAA, Adel OI, Hawas N. Comparative antiplaque and antigingivitis effectiveness of tea tree oil mouthwash and a cetylpyridinium chloride mouthwash: A randomized controlled crossover study Contemporary Clinical Dentistry. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4229754/. Published 2014.
  8. Sabharwal A, Scannapieco FA. Baking soda dentifrice and periodontal health: A review of the literature. Journal of American Dental Association. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29056185. Published November 2017.
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Published by
Kathlyen Mora, AGPCNP-BC, RN, BSN, BA

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