It happens -- you get busy with life, and one day you notice that your gums have started to look uncomfortably red. Or maybe they started to bleed a bit when you tried to brush. Whatever the initial clue, you know that gums becoming redder than usual indicates something might be wrong, but there are a few things you can do to check out why your gums might be acting this way.
Evaluate Your Daily Routine
Along with being busy can come a tendency to rush through everyday activities, including mouth care. Take a look at how you've been brushing and flossing, and make an effort to slow down and brush and floss properly. If your redder gums are due to skimping on your oral care routine, you should see an improvement once you start regularly brushing and flossing properly. Remember, try to brush and floss twice a day, and brush for about two minutes. Do brush and floss carefully those first few times to ensure you don't hurt your gums in case anything else is going on that's affecting them.
Carefully Check Your Gumline
One of those potential things is that food may have gotten stuck under your gumline. Check the gumline around each tooth very gently -- use the tip of your tongue -- and see if you can feel any small swellings right at the gumline. If you do, floss the area very, very carefully and brush very gently with a soft-bristled brush. The swelling should be better shortly. If the swelling does not improve within a couple of days or so, see your dentist as soon as you can.
Take a Look at Medication Changes
Another cause of redder gums can be medications, so if you've recently started, stopped, or changed a prescription in the past few weeks, that could be the cause. Oral contraceptives are known for making gums a little more unpredictable, for example. Double-check with your dentist about any medications you take; if they are affecting your gums to the point where regular oral care isn't doing much to keep the gums healthy, your dentist might have suggestions for what you can do.
Try a Little Salt Water
Put a light amount of table salt into some warm water and use that as a mouth rinse. If you've ever had a tooth pulled or had a wisdom tooth extracted surgically, you might have been given instructions to rinse with warm salt water then; that was because the salt can help reduce swelling in gum tissue. The same concept is at work here -- the salt water might make the redness subside a bit.
Ask About Therapeutic Mouthrinses
If you're still not having luck making your gums look more like they normally do, talk to your dentist about getting a therapeutic mouthrinse. These range from over-the-counter anti-gingivital rinses to prescriptions rinses like chlorhexidine gluconate. At the same time, your dentist can start delving deeper into what is causing your gums to become redder even though you've been taking the steps listed.
If you'd like to find out more about taking care of your gums properly -- even when you're really busy -- contact your dentist and ask for either the dentist or a hygienist to go through oral care steps with you.