Can Mouthwash Help Your Gums?

Up close shot of woman swishing mouthwash

Having issues with swollen gums? The way that you treat your gums depends on what’s causing the problem. If your swollen gums are related to early gum disease, professionally known as gingivitis, you may be able to help them with good oral hygiene habits like brushing daily, cleaning between your teeth daily and using mouthwash.1,2 Learn more about mouthwash and whether it can help with inflamed gums. If you choose to add mouthwash to your oral care regimen, make sure you follow up with a dental professional before self-treating.

What Causes Swollen Gums?

Swollen gums are a common occurrence.1 In some circumstances, the swelling can be substantial enough to cover the entire tooth.1 Some common causes of swollen gums can include:1

  • Gingivitis (early gum disease)
  • Viral or fungal infections
  • Poorly fitted dental appliances
  • Side effects of medications
  • Food debris that is stuck between the teeth
  • Eating too little
  • Sensitivity to a toothpaste or mouthwash1

Since there are so many potential causes for swollen gums, it’s important to visit a dental professional for a proper diagnosis.

What is the Connection Between Gingivitis and Swollen Gums?

The three main signs of gingivitis are gums that appear to be red, swollen or bleeding.3 The inflammation of gums is commonly caused by plaque, which is a thin film that covers your teeth.3 Plaque is hardly visible, but it can contribute to tooth decay and gum disease if it is not removed from your teeth.3,4 The bacteria in plaque can release acids that attack the tooth enamel after eating something with sugar.4 If plaque is not removed, it can harden into tartar, professionally known as calculus, and make cleaning your teeth more challenging.4 Once tartar starts to collect above the gum line, it causes the gum tissue to swell up and bleed.4 Tartar and plaque that goes further down between your gums can cause more serious problems like periodontitis and tooth loss.3

How Can You Remove Plaque and Tartar from Your Teeth?

Plaque buildup can be prevented by brushing your teeth twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste and cleaning in between your teeth daily.4 Regular checkups with your dentist can also help ensure that plaque buildup is not forming on your teeth.4 Tartar can only be removed by a dental health professional, which is another reason why it is important to schedule a dental appointment.3

If you are experiencing inflamed gums with braces, you may just need to spend more time cleaning your teeth. Use a floss threader to get in between the metal brackets to ensure that every surface of your teeth is clean.5 Your dentist or orthodontist can provide you with extra threaders during your next appointment.5

When Should I Talk to a Dentist About Swollen Gums?

Swollen gums can also be a sign of an abscessed tooth, or an infection that can be caused by tooth decay, gum disease or a cracked tooth.6 Other symptoms of an abscess include pain, fever, redness in the gums and bad taste in the mouth.6 An untreated abscess can lead to a serious infection that affects the jawbone and teeth.6 If you suspect that you have an abscess, talk to your dentist to find an appropriate treatment solution.6

How Can Using Mouthwash Prevent Inflamed Gums?

Although mouthwash isn’t intended to be used as a complete replacement for daily brushing and flossing, it can play a role in preventing inflamed gums.2 Therapeutic mouthwashes, or mouthwashes that contain active ingredients for killing bacteria, can help reduce plaque.2 Mouthwash can also get in between the teeth and reach the areas that your toothbrush can’t.2 When used regularly, therapeutic mouthwashes can slow the speed that tartar forms on your teeth and control tooth decay.2

Mouthwashes to Help Inflamed Gums

When choosing a mouthwash for inflamed gums, look for a product that gets rid of plaque bacteria and other bad breath germs. Try parodontax Active Gum Health Mint Mouthwash, which uses an ingredient called CPC (cetylpyridinium chloride) to help inflamed gums caused by gingivitis.* This germ-fighting formula creates an antibacterial shield to control plaque, leaving your mouth feeling clean and fresh. Active Gum Health Mint Mouthwash is also alcohol-free, which is good if your gums are sensitive to alcohol.1 Use this mouthwash with parodontax Active Gum Repair Fresh Mint Toothpaste to help keep your gums in good shape.

Other Ways to Help Swollen Gums

What you eat everyday can have a big impact on your gums. Avoiding sugary foods and opting to add more fruits and veggies to your diet can help minimize the effects of swollen gums.1 Foods that can easily lodge between your teeth, like popcorn, should also be left off your snack list.1 If your swollen gums are caused by a medication, talk to your doctor and see if there are any alternative medications to take.1

Using therapeutic mouthwashes with fluoride can help keep every surface of your mouth clean to minimize inflamed gums. Find more helpful tips on gum health from parodontax.

*The use of mouthwash for swollen gums is not approved by the FDA. If a patient has swollen gums, they must consult a dentist or doctor.

Source Citations:

  1. Gums – swollen. MedlinePlus. Accessed 6/14/2023.
  2. Mouthwash. American Dental Association. Accessed 6/14/2023.
  3. Gingivitis and periodontitis: Overview. National Library of Medicine. Accessed 6/14/2023.
  4. Plaque. American Dental Association. Accessed 6/14/2023.
  5. Living with my brace. Oral Health Foundation. Accessed 6/14/2023.
  6. Abscess. American Dental Association. Accessed 6/14/2023.

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