A gum boil (also known as an ulcer or abscess) is common and not always serious. However, some of these sores may be a symptom of an infection or even oral cancer.
This article discusses the common causes and other symptoms you may be experiencing and treatments to try.
If the gum boil does not go away on its own in a few days and gets worse or more painful, it is time to call your doctor for a diagnosis.
What Is A Gum Boil?
These types of abscesses appear as swollen bumps on the gums. The main cause is a build-up of bacteria (food particles, plaque, or tooth decay) that has led to an infection.
Other possible causes are rare, which we will discuss later.
There are three main types of abscesses:
- Gingival: Along the line of the gums
- Periapical: Along the tooth root
- Periodontal: Along the tissue of the teeth
Causes Of Gum Boil
The main causes of gum boils are bacteria, which lead to an infection of the surface of the gums. In rare cases, an abscess could be a sign of oral cancer.
A lump can also form from the excessive rubbing of dentures, mouth guards, or other mouth supports.
Your dentist will be able to help you with the fit of these dental devices to make them more comfortable for you.
Other possible causes include the following:
- Periodontitis disease
- Gum disease
- Stress or lack of sleep
- Other chronic illnesses
Gum Boil Symptoms
A gum boil is not painful for most people. However, for some, pain is usually the first sign that you have a boil in your gums.
To locate the source of the abscess, you can palpate the area with your tongue, look into your mouth or use a mirror to find a bump on your gums.
Other symptoms of gum boil include:
- bad breath
- pus or discharge
- swollen gums
- sensitivity to heat or cold
Gum Boil Popped
It is not recommended to pop a gum boil yourself as this could spread infection and cause one to worsen.
You should let it go down by itself or see a dentist. A dentist may need to drain pus professionally. This relieves pain and helps the area heal.
Gum Boil Treatment
In most cases, such an abscess is mainly due to poor mouth care and oral hygiene.
Bacteria can infect the gums through gum disease and cavities. To treat the infection and prevent further boils, your dentist may recommend one of the following or a combination of several treatments:
The first step is to kill the bacteria that cause the infection. If a boil forms above the gum line, topical treatment may not go far enough, and antibiotics may be necessary.
The introduction of better oral hygiene habits can help prevent abscesses from returning.
Deep cleaning and similar procedures, such as a root canal, remove plaque and tartar to heal the gums.
A gum boil can be caused by the irritation of the fit of dentures. The dentist can adjust the dentures to avoid further irritation in this situation.
Severe gum infections can damage nearby teeth and bones. In rare cases, dentists may perform surgery to remove teeth or repair bone damage.
If a person has a periapical abscess or tooth decay, they may need a root canal to treat it.
Other ways to prevent a gum boil include:
- brushing your teeth daily
- flossing regularly
- going to the dentist at least once a year to be examined and cleaned
- avoiding sugary foods and drinks
According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), smoking is a major risk factor for gum disease.
Smoking can also reduce the effectiveness of gum disease treatment. Quitting smoking or chewing tobacco can reduce the risk of the disease and help the gums heal faster during treatment.
Salt Water Rinse
Salt water rinse can promote gum health and improve the healing of mouth ulcers. Salt is antibacterial and anti-inflammatory.
For a saltwater rinse, mix 1 teaspoon salt with 1 cup warm water, gargle the mixture in your mouth for 30 seconds, spit it out and repeat 2-3 times.
Hydrogen peroxide has antibacterial properties, which can help treat gum disease, a common cause of boils.
The use of hydrogen peroxides can also reduce the pain and inflammation that can occur with a gum boil.
For hydrogen peroxide mouthwash, mix 1 part hydrogen peroxide with 2 parts water, gargle the mixture for several seconds in your mouth, spit it out, and repeat the process 2-3 times.
Turmeric is a popular natural anti-inflammatory. Its active ingredient Curcumin could prevent gum disease. To use turmeric for oral health, try mixing a small amount into normal toothpaste or brush as usual.
Essential oils can help fight germs in the mouth. Various essential oils inhibit microbial activity.
People use peppermint, clove, and cinnamon oils to support dental health. Research suggests that peppermint oil can also fight pathogenic germs from the mouth. It can also reduce bad breath.
Cinnamon oil contains antibacterial and antifungal properties, and research suggests it can prevent bacterial diseases of the mouth.
Eugenol, the chemical clove oil, is a common ingredient in dental products and treatments. A study on rats cites this chemical’s recognized anesthetic, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties.
Add a drop to normal toothpaste or mouthwash to use essential oils for oral health.
Do a rinse by mixing 1 drop of essential oil with a quarter cup of water. Apply the mixture to the affected area of the mouth. Another option is to add 1 drop of oil to 1 tablespoon of coconut oil.
It is important to note that home remedies can not treat an established infection. Home care and natural treatments can reduce the symptoms of gum disease and help prevent its formation.
If you wait too long, gum disease can spread and put your life in danger. Don’t be afraid to see a dentist when you have a persistent gum boil.
Making your gums as clean as possible reduces your risk of gum disease, cavities, and bacterial infections and prevents gum abscesses from forming.
This depends on proper oral hygiene: daily brushing, regular flossing, sugar in food and drink in moderation, prevention of tobacco use, and regular dental examinations. You can improve your oral hygiene with consistent visits to the dentist.
No one wants the complications of a gum abscess. Make regular home visits to your dentist, as recommended, and you can keep gum abscesses out of your mouth.