Swollen gums; Gingival swelling; Bulbous gums; Inflamed gums; Enlarged gums
Swollen gums are abnormally enlarged, bulging, or protruding.
Gum swelling is common. It may involve one or many of the triangle-shaped areas of gum between teeth. These sections are called papillae.
Occasionally, the gums swell enough to block the teeth completely.
Swollen gums may be caused by:
Eat a well-balanced diet that includes fruits and vegetables. Avoid sugary foods and drinks.
Avoid foods such as popcorn and chips that can lodge under the gums and cause swelling.
Avoid things that can irritate your gums such as mouthwashes, alcohol, and tobacco. Change your toothpaste brand and stop using mouthwashes if sensitivity to these dental products is causing your swollen gums.
Brush and floss your teeth regularly. See a periodontist or dentist at least every 6 months.
If your swollen gums are caused by a reaction to a drug, talk to your health care provider about changing the type of medicine you use. Never stop taking a medicine without first talking to your provider.
Contact your provider if changes to your gums last longer than 2 weeks.
Your dentist will examine your mouth, teeth, and gums. You will be asked questions about your medical history and symptoms, such as:
You may have blood tests such as a CBC (complete blood count) or blood differential.
Your dentist or hygienist will show you how to care for your teeth and gums.
Ball JW, Dains JE, Flynn JA, Solomon BS, Stewart RW. Ears, nose, and throat. In: Ball JW, Dains JE, Flynn JA, Solomon BS, Stewart RW, eds. Seidel's Guide to Physical Examination. 10th ed. St Louis, MO: Elsevier; 2023:chap 13.
Chow AW. Infections of the oral cavity, neck, and head. In: Bennett JE, Dolin R, Blaser MJ, eds. Mandell, Douglas and Bennett's Principles and Practice of Infectious Diseases. 9th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 64.
Pedigo RA. Oral medicine. In: Walls RM, ed. Rosen's Emergency Medicine: Concepts and Clinical Practice. 10th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2023:chap 56.BACK TO TOP
Review Date: 1/24/2022
Reviewed By: Michael Kapner, DDS, Family and Cosmetic Dentistry, Norwalk, CT. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
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