Dealing with swollen or sensitive gyms can be challenging, whether caused by a root canal or lapses in dental care. When this happens, eating becomes a task in itself.
Aside from proper oral hygiene, a nutritious diet provides an initial defense against oral disease. Explore 11 foods to soothe sore gums.
What Causes Swollen and Sensitive Gums
You may notice gum turning red, protruding or bulging out when you have gum issues. Many factors contribute to swollen and sore gums, including:
- Gingivitis: This condition is the most common reason behind swollen gums. When left untreated, it can lead to a more severe disease called periodontitis and even tooth loss.
- Malnutrition: Vitamin deficiency can trigger swelling. For instance, vitamin C is essential in maintaining healthy teeth and gums — insufficient levels can cause scurvy and gum disease.
- Infection: Viral or bacterial infections can lead to swollen gums. Thrush can also cause swelling.
- Poor Flossing Habits: Not brushing and flossing regularly increases the risk of periodontitis.
- Root Canal: A tooth decay may require you to do a root canal, which commonly causes swelling after doing the procedure.
11 Foods for Swollen Gums
The best thing you can do is avoid acidic and spicy foods. Here are some options that provide comfort and nutrients to your sore gums:
- Dairy Products
Milk, cheese and yogurt strengthen your gums, tooth enamel and jawbone, making them the best foods for sore gums. Dairy products contain a protein called casein, which helps neutralize oral acids released inside the mouth.
These acids may cause irreversible damage to the teeth and gums. Consuming dairy products can help reduce the likelihood of dental erosion.
- Leafy Greens
Spinach, collard greens and kale are considered great foods for swollen gums since they are rich in nutrients that benefit your overall health. More importantly, leafy greens are rich sources of vitamin C, which helps strengthen gums and fight infections. These vegetables also contain calcium, a crucial mineral for healthy teeth.
Since leafy greens are fibrous, they help prevent irritation and plaque buildup. They also encourage your mouth to produce saliva, helping rinse sugar and bacteria.
- Green Tea
Your favorite afternoon green tea is rich in catechins, an antioxidant that helps fight off bacteria and reduce inflammation. It also helps provide greater cognitive performance and weight loss benefits — imagine getting all these benefits in a single cup. Drinking this beverage daily can help you manage the pain of swollen and sensitive gums.
Blueberries, strawberries and raspberries are all great treats for your gum health. Berries are rich in vitamin C and antioxidants, which help fight off inflammation and protect your gums. These fruits make great additions to your favorite smoothie or your morning bowl of yogurt, which contains antibacterial properties that help fight harmful bacteria.
Keeping your body hydrated is crucial for your overall health, including maintaining healthy gums. Drinking water helps wash away cavity-causing bacteria and food particles that may contribute to swollen and inflamed gums. It also keeps the mouth moist, which reduces the risk of dry mouth, bad breath and other oral problems.
Saliva is your mouth’s natural defense against tooth decay. Keeping yourself hydrated ensures enough saliva production throughout the day, especially after a root canal procedure. While swollen gums usually disappear within 72 hours, recovery time will depend on factors such as your overall health and what you consume. Ensure you remain hydrated as your gums recover.
Chicken contains CoQ10, a nutrient with anti-inflammatory properties that help repair gum tissue. This food is also rich in collagen, particularly the chicken skin. Since gums are made of gingival fibers that primarily contain type 1 collagen, you’ll need supplementation to maintain your oral health at its best.
- Fatty Fish
Fatty fish such as mackerel, salmon and herring are excellent sources of omega-3s and other essential nutrients. These food options contain anti-inflammatory properties that help reduce swollen gums and boost the immune system.
- Red and Green Bell Peppers
One medium-sized red bell pepper offers 169% of the Reference Daily Intake (RDI) for vitamin C, making it one of the best relief foods for swollen gums. Green bell peppers also contain high levels of the same nutrient. Adding these to your daily diet can help boost your immune system and gum health.
Like green tea, cacao also contains high levels of disease-fighting catechins. This food source provides defense against plaque, cavities and tooth decay. It also contains a compound called CBH, which protects and hardens tooth enamel.
This vegetable is rich in essential nutrients, such as magnesium, niacin, iron, vitamin B1 and vitamin C, necessary for optimal oral health. It’s good for the gums and your overall health — what’s there not to love?
- Grass-fed Beef
Many people know collagen is crucial for skin and bone health, but few know it’s vital for binding the teeth together and keeping them firmly attached to the gums. Grass-fed beef has high amounts of collagen, omega-3s and antioxidant vitamins, such as vitamin E.
Eat Your Way to Healthy Gums
These are some of the many nutrient-packed foods for sore gums. Now that you know what to eat, may you feel better equipped to care for your oral health. If you are experiencing swelling or soreness for over two weeks, consult your dentist immediately.
Beth is the Managing Editor and content manager at Body+Mind. She shares knowledge on a variety of topics related to nutrition, healthy living, and anything food-related. In her spare time, Beth enjoys trying out new fitness trends and recipes.