Humans are social
beings. We love holding parties and social events. For many people,
it is a chance to have fun, to unwind from a long tiresome week,
and for the serious chaps, a time to network and land new clients.
But these events are usually fun and relaxing for individuals who
have been invited.
For the host(s), there is pressure to have everything going
according to plan. If you have ever planned an event you know what
I am talking about. But once the soiree is all done and your
efforts are acknowledged, the
stress and trouble you went through fade away into the
A vote of thanks to you is like a salary at the end of the week
or month that erases all your thoughts of quitting the job and
moving on to something ‘better’.
Unfortunately, it is not always the case that the efforts of the
people behind the scenes are acknowledged. At times they are
forgotten and denied the satisfaction of knowing they did well in
planning the event. Do you know this feeling of not being
You do right? Well, that’s the same pain and frustration we
take our gums through!
Yes, gums are unappreciated. The teeth, tongue, and jaw take all
the praise and leave nothing for the gums. But the fact that they
are not ‘active’ does not mean they are vestigial. On the
contrary, they are super important. When you think about it, your
teeth would be nothing without the gums.
In this piece, I’ll take you through a crash course on gums
and hopefully, we learn to appreciate them more. I’ll also cover
gum inflammation and how to deal with it – spoiler alert; it has
everything to do with essential oils.
What Are Gums?
Do not skip over this part – you will learn a lot. We all know
what gums are.
However, some of us may be clueless about their structure. To
appreciate them, we need to understand what they are made of, and
So here goes nothing.
Gums are soft tissues that line the mouth. They surround teeth,
provide support and seal them. Gum tissue is similar to the tissue
lining of the cheeks and lips.
However, the difference is that gums are bound tightly to the
bone underneath them. This helps the gum to resist friction caused
by food that glides over them while we eat.
With all these features working for them, healthy gums are
effective bacteria barriers and consequently prevent the
development of periodontal disease affecting the deep tissues.
Usually, healthy gums are coral pink (this is for light-skinned
people). However, those with naturally darker melanin may have
With that said, our gums are divided into three areas:
Marginal gum – this is the edge of the gums that surround the
teeth like a collar. In many people, this gum is demarcated from
attached gums by a linear depression – free gingival groove.
Attached gum – this is adjacent to the marginal gums (the two
are continuous). Attached gum is resilient, firm and bound tightly
to the bone underneath.
Interdental gum – this gum is located between the teeth. It
acts as a shock absorbers and is resistant to the pressure exerted
during chewing. The keratin covering the gum reinforces its
How To Know You Have Healthy Gums – Characteristics Of
As mentioned above, healthy gums are coral pink (it might be
darker depending on your melanin levels, thickness, and blood flow
to your gums or medication). If your gums are any other color, like
white, blue (very odd – you are not an avatar so this should be
an alarm), or red can be a sign of
Since gum color varies, it is usually more accurate to judge the
health of gums by the uniformity of their color. Excessive melanin
deposits can cause dark patches and spots on the gum (known as
melanin gingival hyperpigmentation). To get rid of the
discolorations, a procedure known as gum bleaching (gum
depigmentation) is carried out.
Healthy gums tend to have smooth curves around individual teeth.
Healthy gums usually fill and perfectly fit the space between
teeth. They hold tight to the teeth. On the other hand, inflamed
gums have rolled or puffy margins.
Healthy gums are firm and resistant to friction. The surface has
a stippled texture (this texture is similar to that of an orange
peel). But unhealthy gums are less firm and often swollen.
Reaction to Disturbance
Healthy gums will not react to normal disturbances including
brushing. Unhealthy gums will, however, bleed when brushed or when
Symptoms Of Swollen Gums
Here is a breakdown of symptoms that manifest when you have
Bleeding when flossing or brushing
Increased sensitivity and pain
Typically, blue, purple and dark pink
No papilla or blunted papilla between your
Why Do Gums Swell?
As you go through this section, bear in mind that gums, like any
other body part, have a network of blood vessels nourishing the
cells. As such, they are ‘alive’ and need to be accorded proper
care if they are to serve efficiently and last for long.
Swelling in any body part is abnormal. Consider swelling as a
red flag to an underlying problem that needs your immediate
attention. Identifying swollen gums early and working on reversing
the swelling is key to preventing the worsening of serious gum and
teeth diseases that might cause loss of teeth.
It is also not uncommon to develop inflamed gums overnight.
Usually, this is as a result of bacteria penetrating the gums.
Let’s now find out what causes swelling of gums:
This is by far the most common gum irritation. It occurs as a
result of below average oral hygiene. The early stages of this gum
disease are characterized by gum inflammation, bleeding when
flossing and brushing or redness.
When bacteria and other foreign bodies attack your body, the
immune system reacts by deploying white blood cells and
lymphocytes to fight the infection. During the fight, inflammation
occurs. The gum is at times full of pus (these are the casualties
of the war). With regular and efficient cleaning, we can keep the
levels of bacteria and other foreign bodies at a minimum.
If gingivitis is the cause of the inflammation you can try
spending extra time flossing and brushing your teeth. This will
reduce inflammation in about 14 days or less. If this does not help
with the swelling and the bleeding you should seek advice from your
Pregnancy hormones can worsen gingivitis. But even while this is
true, remember that the problem is not the pregnancy itself but
instead, the bacteria present in your gums. Here is what happens:
The hormones released during pregnancy alter the chemical chemistry
under the gums. This alteration causes powerful bacteria to thrive.
Though powerful, the bacteria can be controlled by high standards
of oral hygiene.
Some orthodontic treatment also makes individuals more
susceptible to swollen gums and gingivitis. How so?
First, braces make it difficult to get rid of plaque present
between teeth and along the gum line.
Second, occasionally, the gum tissues tend to react with
orthodontic hardware by overgrowing and swelling. If this is the
reason for your swollen gums, your orthodontist will send you to
your periodontist for treatment. Your periodontist may, in turn,
recommend the use of some special appliances including floss
holders and interdental
2. Gum Infection
From time to time, a serious gum infection may ensue following
entrapment of bacteria related to foreign objects (like popcorn
pieces) or gum disease beneath your gum line. This leads to the
development of pus-filled abscesses. The condition may or may not
If you are dealing with a gum abscess, you will need to have it
treated by a periodontist or a dentist. The abscess should be
drained and you will be provided with antibiotics depending on the
cause of the abscess.
3. Pulp infection
Gum inflammation can also mean the presence of tooth decay that
has spread from the roots to the gums. If you regularly visit a
dentist, this should be a rare occurrence. This is because minor
cavities are caught in their early stages and treated before they
evolve into problematic infections and conditions.
When tooth decay goes untreated for a long time, it can spread
into the deeper areas of the teeth until it gets to the pulp (the
soft tissue at the center of a tooth). If the pulp is infected or
dead, root canal treatment is imperative to save the tooth. If the
infection is as gone too far, the tooth has to be extracted.
4. Nutritional Deficiency
It is not always that gum swelling is a result of poor oral
health. At times gum swelling has to do with your nutrition. When
your body is not served with all the nutrients it needs, it starts
acting up and several diseases and conditions manifest. These range
from dental diseases to cognitive disorders.
Some nutrients reinforce the body’s immune system and increase
blood circulation to the gums. Vitamins rich in antioxidants help
in keeping gum cells healthy. This is by interacting with the free
radicals (reactive molecules). These radicals help to prevent
infections from attacking proteins, lipids, and DNA. Antioxidants
do play a big role in the fight against infections.
Below are some nutrients whose deficiency can lead to swollen
This vitamin is commonly found in vegetables and fruits. It is
skin health. Most tissues in the body make use of vitamin C for
accelerated repair and growth. Without this vitamin, you become
vulnerable to infections and diseases.
Deficiency of vitamin C causes scurvy.
The connection between the two was discovered between the 16th and
18th centuries. It plagued sea explorers at the time. Sailors would
be away from land for extended periods. During this time they had
no access to fresh foods that were rich in vitamin C. As a result,
the entire fleet would develop scurvy.
In 1746, James Lind a naval surgeon from Britain discovered
lemons and oranges were effective against scurvy. Upon this
discovery, all sailors carried along supplies of lemons and oranges
to last them through their voyage. Scurvy incidences consequently
plummeted. An interesting story right? It makes you appreciate how
far medical technology has come.
So, vitamin C is rich in antioxidants which strengthen the
immune system and the blood vessels. It is also worth noting that
vitamin C is water soluble. Our bodies do not produce this vitamin
and as such must be acquired from our diet. A deficiency in it
leads to scurvy which is characterized by bleeding and swollen
Folic acid is also water soluble. A lack of it can cause gum
inflammation and significantly increase the risk of developing gum
disease (more so gingivitis). Folic acid is important for the
‘manufacture’ of erythrocytes, synthesis of proteins, normal
cellular function and tissue growth.
In addition to this, folic acid also helps to improve blood flow
by dilating blood vessels. You can ramp up your folic acid levels
by adding green vegetables, pasta, cereal and seeds in your
Today it’s all about water-soluble vitamins huh? Riboflavin is
rich in antioxidants and essential for the health of your liver,
hair, and skin. It plays a big role in the synthesis of red
blood cells and helps in strengthening the immune system.
Without riboflavin, your body cannot use folic acid. The thing
is, riboflavin helps to ‘activate’ folic acid. Inactive folic
acid cannot participate in biochemical reactions. Foods rich in
riboflavin include green and leafy vegetables, meat, cheese,
yogurt, milk, cereals and enriched bread.
Fortunately, you do not have to worry about nutritional
deficiency as a cause of your inflamed gums. Most foods are laced
with the above vitamins so the chances of running low on these
vitamins are minimal.
5. Systemic diseases
Conditions like uncontrolled
diabetes can affect periodontal health.
Oral care products – if you have recently switched to new
mouthwash or toothpaste, it might cause gum sensitivity, especially
if you are allergic to an ingredient in the toothpaste. Luckily, in
today’s world, there are strict systems and rules which ensure
that any product designed for consumers is safe (if any ingredient
can cause adverse effects, companies are forced to state it in
Recommended Natural Product For Gum Disease
A completely natural product made from organic ingredients such
as herbs, essential oils and clays! Developed by a doctor, this
tooth powder formula will help with all types of gum diseases
including gingivitis, inflamed and bleeding gums, sensitive gums as
well as help prevent cavities.
What Are The Best Essential Oils For Swollen Gums
With essential oils, there are numerous ways to handle swollen
gums. But whichever method you choose, remember that most essential
oils are not to be ingested. If you are to ingest them, be
careful with the amounts you take. Otherwise, always rinse out the
essential oils thoroughly.
The essential oil of sage is a classic when it comes to dental,
oral health and hygiene. It has a fragrance that is pleasing and
the many benefits it features have made it popular in commercial
study revealed that mouthwash made from sage reduces the amount
of plaque-causing bacteria from a whopping 3900 to an impressive
low of 300.
essential oil has powerful carminative, anti-inflammatory,
antispasmodic, anti-oxidant antiseptic, anti-bacterial and
astringent properties. Therefore, it helps reduce bacteria levels
and prevent acids from gnawing at your gums and teeth. In addition
to this, sage oil helps in preventing gum soreness, cavities, and
bad breath. Its anti-inflammatory effects will soothe the inflamed
This is one of the most powerful anti-microbial
extracts. Due to its high eugenol content, most dentists use
clove oil as a local antiseptic and anesthetic. When I smell it, it
made me think of a dentist’s cabinet. It probably will conjure
the same thoughts for you as well.
Clove bud essential oil is best used for gum infection. It kills
bacteria and prevents further damage to the gums and teeth. In
addition, it also has the added benefit of refreshing your breath
and maintaining the fresh breath for long.
When using clove essential oil, bear in mind that it is highly
potent and as such, you should always ensure you dilute it in a
carrier oil. Did you also know that a 2017 study
supports clove oil as an anti-cancer agent.
3. Tea Tree
Read more: essentialoilbenefits.com