Not all irritated and puffy gums are caused by plaque and gingivitis. In fact, there are a few other reasons why your gums may be puffy, red, or irritated. The good news is that a dentist can tell the difference, and you can treat most of these irritating conditions at home, quickly and easily.
Chewing a tough steak, a crunchy apple with the skin, and popcorn all have the same problem. Bits of these foods, like a strand of meat fiber from the steak or the hull of a popcorn kernel, gets trapped not only between your teeth, but also way down deep inside the pocket of the gum. You see, every tooth is nestled in a pocket of gum flesh, and that helps you floss really well to get plaque below the gum line.
Unfortunately, it also means that food gets stuck in these pockets as well. When that happens, your gums respond to the food bits much in the same way oysters respond to a sand particle; the irritation begins, the swelling begins, and your gums try desperately to push the substance out (even though the gums cannot). The fix is to floss until you cannot feel anything stuck in the gums anymore. Not surprisingly, the gums will immediately bleed a little because they have been relieved of the irritant, and the swelling will go down right away.
Abscesses are pockets of pus in the gums. They may be the result of part of a tooth rotting below the gum line, or they may be the result of an infection in the gum that has gotten really bad. The abscess will continue to get worse and worse unless it is relieved of the pus. Most dentists recommend swishing with a saltwater solution you can make right in your kitchen to draw out the pus. If that does not seem to work, you should see your dentist. The dentist can numb that area of your mouth, insert a dental scaling tool into the pocket of infected gum tissue and drain the pus. After a really good rinsing and a prescription for antibiotics, you are all set.
Blows to the Face
Fistfights are definitely a cause for puffy gums. If you are lucky and did not get any teeth knocked out or knocked loose, the gums will swell because they are bruised from the blows. Apply a cold compress to the painful areas, and wait a few days. If the puffiness persists, it may be that you have a tooth that was jarred a little too hard from the blows. Your dentist can fix that with an x-ray and possibly a little light surgery.
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