When you think of a healthy smile, you think of straight, white teeth and pink gums. When you check out your smile in the bathroom mirror, you may see red gums. Red gums signal a problem your dentist calls gingivitis. Gingivitis ('gingiva' refers to gums and 'itis' means inflammation of) generally occurs when plaque is left to sit on the teeth and gums on a regular basis. There are several reasons why this might be happening to you. Here are some different reasons for red and swollen gums.
Improper or poor hygiene
The techniques you are using to clean your mouth may need improving. Poor or improper home care of the mouth are the leading causes of gingivitis. Proper brushing, at least two times per day, as well as daily flossing, is important for good oral health. When cleaning your teeth, keep in mind that you need to take care of both your teeth and gums. Your brush should sweep the gum line, without scrubbing, and your floss should sink beyond the level of the gums.
Those with sinus issues or other breathing problems forcing them to breathe through their mouths on a regular basis, may suffer from red, swollen gums. This is due to the drying nature of mouth breathing, and the gums react to the lack of moisture by reddening and puffing up slightly. Along the same lines, those with dry mouth (termed xerostomia), caused by medication, will notice the same issues. In both cases, sugarless gum or sugarless candy can help stimulate saliva production. Lack of saliva in the mouth may also lead to higher rates of decay.
If areas of your mouth have severe crowding of the teeth, this may cause swollen, reddened gums in those areas only. This is usually due to the inability to properly clean the teeth and gum because of overcrowding. Ask your dentist to review some techniques or recommend oral health tools to help you do a better job.
Gingivitis is one of the most common diseases in humans. Left untreated, gingivitis leads to periodontal disease, which causes the loss of the supporting bone, leading to tooth loss. It is not painful, so be on the lookout for it, including bleeding gums. And never let the bleeding gums stop you from cleaning properly--regular removal of the plaque from your teeth and gums is the only way to cure gingivitis.