Swollen, Red Gums – What’s Causing It?

If your gums are swollen, there's several things that could be contributing to, or causing the problem. Below, you'll find a little information that may help you determine what's causing your gums to swell so that you can treat it and get things back to normal as quickly as possible.

Side Effects to Medication

If you've recently started a new medication, it could be the cause. Sometimes, medicine can cause the gums to become enlarged – especially anticonvulsants, calcium channel blockers, and immunosuppressant medications. If you've begun a new medication, talk with your doctor and your dentist about what you're taking so they can work together to determine if the medicine is what's causing the problem with your gums. It's possible that a change of medicine will be needed, but you could just need an additional medication to combat the effects of the first.

Hormonal Changes

When the hormones in the body change, weird things can happen, including swelling gums. Pregnancy, puberty, and menopause can all cause the gums to swell. This is because the increase in hormones increases the amount of deposits that occur around the teeth. When this happens, you'll likely need to visit the dentist to have a scaling procedure performed – the dentist uses tools to scrape the buildup away from the teeth and gums to reduce the swelling and prevent it from occurring again. You will need to maintain a strict oral hygiene routine to keep the deposits at bay.


This is likely the most common cause of swollen gums. If you aren't following good oral hygiene practices, gingivitis can occur. Check your gums after you brush and floss. Are they redder than normal? Do you see blood? If so, make an appointment at the dental office soon. This problem will not resolve itself – your dentist will need to treat the gingivitis to prevent even more complications.

Vitamin C Deficiency

If you aren't getting enough vitamin C in your diet, your gums can become red and shiny – they may even begin to turn a bluish-red color and will bleed each time you brush. Try increasing your vitamin C intake, but be careful not to introduce too much acid from fresh fruit – the acid can make things worse. Look into supplements instead.

Talk with your dentist – no matter what's wrong, something needs to be done about it. Don't put off getting treatment because those red, swollen gums are only going to continue to worsen until you find the cause and get it treated.