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Indiana State Department of Health

Inflamed or Irritated Gum Tissue Inflamed or Irritated Gum Tissue

Causes:

Relationship to oral hygiene practices

Inflamed, bleeding gum tissue can be the result of poor oral hygiene. Removal of plaque by brushing and flossing daily will enable gums to regain health. Toothpaste does not have to be used to remove the plaque - baking soda, salt or hydrogen peroxide (diluted 3% solution) can be used with soft bristle toothbrush and dental floss. The use of a toothbrush coated only with saliva has also been shown to be effective in plaque removal/control. A dentist should be consulted with any chronic bleeding of gum tissue.

Systemic condition

Bleeding gums may also be caused by a systemic problem. If the condition does not improve in 7-10 days with good oral hygiene (brushing 3-4 times a day and flossing at least once a day) a diet evaluation may be in order as well as a consultation with a dentist.

Trauma

A blow (trauma) to the mouth can cause the gum tissue to swell and bleed. The gums and teeth should be kept clean to decrease the chance of infection. A cold compress may be applied to the area from the outside of the cheek to help control swelling (20 minutes on, 20 minutes off). using a sterile 2 x 2 gauze square, apply direct pressure to the injured gum or cheek to control the bleeding.

Treatment:

Red, swollen or sore gums should be rinsed thoroughly with a warm salt water solution (1/2 teaspoon/teaspoon full of salt in a glass of warm water). Another mouth rinse can be made by mixing equal parts of water and a 3% solution of hydrogen peroxide. Either of these mouth rinses should be swished (not swallowed) around the entire mouth for 15-30 seconds.

If tissues do not improve within 7-10 days, a dentist should be consulted.