Perhaps you felt a little sensitivity or noticed some bleeding when you flossed or brushed. Or maybe you were just getting a close look at your teeth when you noticed the swelling of your gums around one or more teeth. What does it mean? What should you do?
One possibility is that the popcorn you ate last night lodged a bit of kernel shell in-between your tooth and gum, which is causing inflammation and creating an opportunity for bacteria to set up shop. If you feel that may be the case, one option is to carefully and gently use floss to scrape the tooth from the bottom up and from one side to the other. If you dislodge something, that was likely your culprit.If not, you may have just irritated an already inflamed area. Swish with salt water to both cleanse and relieve the affected area. There is a good chance that you have gum disease. Swelling of the gums around the teeth is often one of the earlier signs of developing gum disease.
Try not to be offended by this suggestion. It does not necessarily mean that your oral hygiene is failing. Sometimes stress, illness, and other issues can lead to the development of gum disease. And approximately 75% of people will have gum disease at least once in their lifetimes.
But even though it is common, you should not take it lightly. Studies have repeatedly proven that heart disease and strokes are highly correlated to gum disease, meaning that if you have gum disease, you are at greater risk of a heart attack or stroke. Make an appointment to go see your dentist.
Your dentist will assess the health of your teeth and gums and, if it is gum disease you are dealing with, will likely prescribe an oral rinse and recommend a certain oral hygiene routine to get the problem under control. You should follow the advice of your dentist as gum disease left to flourish can turn to periodontal disease causing great pain and even lost teeth in the long run. Thus, it is advisable that you check your gums once in a while in the mirror, just to make sure they are pink, healthy, and not at all swollen.