< All Articles

Gum Soreness and Swelling

The gum tissue that surrounds teeth can become irritated for a number of reasons. This article explores the common causes for gum soreness, swelling and irritation and provides practical steps for dealing with any discomfort as quickly as possible.

Food Debris

Sometimes, gum irritation is simply caused by a piece of food lodged between a tooth and the gums. Brushing and flossing regularly can prevent this from being a problem, except for the occasional popcorn kernel that may lodge against the tooth and stay there even after brushing and flossing. If food debris is not regularly cleaned off of teeth, it can lead to other problems.

If the contact area between teeth isn’t tight enough, food can pack in between the teeth. This can cause decay and gum disease if it persists. Thankfully, a dentist can typically correct spacing issues between the teeth to avoid this issue.

New Medications or Oral Hygiene Products

Some people have reactions to medications or certain oral hygiene products (such as toothpastes and mouthwashes) that lead to inflamed gum tissue. If this is the case, simply switching to a new product or asking your doctor about switching to a different medication is the simplest solution.


When the gums are swollen, tender, and red, these are signs that the gums could be entering the early stages of periodontal disease known as gingivitis. Bleeding gums and bad breath are also common symptoms of gingivitis.

Without proper care, gingivitis leads to a more serious stage of periodontal disease known as periodontitis. The good news is that with proper care from a dental professional, gingivitis can be reversed.  

Periodontal Disease

Periodontitis is a progressive breakdown of the structures that support the teeth. As periodontal disease progresses, the gums begin to pull away from the teeth, and the infection begins to destroy the bone that supports the teeth and cause teeth to loosen or fall out. Among other symptoms, pus can also form between the teeth and gums, chewing can become painful, and the appearance and feel of teeth may change. Periodontal disease around the front teeth can detract severely from the appearance of the smile.

Unfortunately, this stage of periodontal disease is prevalent. According to the American Dental Association, “An estimated 42 percent of U.S. adults age 30 years or over with one or more teeth have periodontitis.” Thankfully, we at Greentree are well practiced at treating patients with periodontitis. We even provide a specific membership program plan for those without employer provided insurance who are dealing with periodontal disease.  


A dental abscess is an accumulation of pus that forms in or around a tooth due to a bacterial infection. This can lead to a toothache, sensitivity to hot and cold beverages, or even swelling and redness in the face. An abscess can also lead to a fever, general malaise and difficulty swallowing or opening the mouth.


Occasionally, a tooth brush, floss, food or other object may cause trauma and ulceration of the gums. These usually heal on their own in time, but more severe trauma may need the attention of your dentist.

Although there are some less extreme causes for soreness and swelling of the gums, we recommend that you schedule an appointment with a dentist if you have noticed pain, swelling, redness, or general irritation of the gums. Regardless of the cause of irritation, your dentist can offer the best recommendation for immediate care and ongoing prevention.

If you would like to schedule an appointment, give us a call at (614) 459 - 5511 today.

Contact Us

We look forward to hearing from you. Call 614.459.5511 or request an appointment online to get started.