Don't Get Inflamed: How To Cut Back On Gum Swelling From Flossing

Most people are pretty good at remembering to brush their teeth, but remembering (and having any motivation) to floss is a lot harder – only 4 out of every 10 Americans floss daily. You may hesitate to floss because a lot of the times that you've flossed, your gums might have swollen, becoming inflamed from the irritation of the floss against them. But there are ways to counteract this swelling – so if you're looking for ways to stop your gums from ballooning up so you can floss less painfully, then here's what you need to know.

Get Salty

Salt is great on cutting down on inflammation, so it stands to reason it'd be the first solution you'd turn to for swollen gums. While you could do it the hard way and rub salt on your gums, rinsing afterwards with water, the easier method is to put a teaspoon of salt into a cup of lukewarm water, stirring it so that the salt dissolves in. After that, swish around a mouthful at a time of the salt solution like mouthwash until the cup is empty. Doing this every night until the swelling finally subsides (while making sure to keep flossing throughout) will leave you with normal-looking, healthy gums.

Go Back to Black

If you'd like to treat your gums and get a morning dose of caffeine along with it, try black tea. The tannins (a polyphenolic compound found in many places naturally, including teas and coffee) that reside within black tea help to fight inflammation, and as an added bonus, black tea has antioxidants in it as well, which can contribute to good oral health.

You could add a cup into your morning routine (making sure to rinse your teeth off with water afterwards to avoid any staining), or, for a more potent approach, soak the bag in boiling water for 2 or 3 minutes, then, once it cools down a bit, hold it on the most swollen part of your gums for around 10 minutes. You'll have to rinse once with saltwater after this, but you should see results within a couple days if you do it once per night.

Try, Try Again

Ultimately, the best (and most permanent) way to stop your gums from swelling up after you floss is to floss more regularly. Your gums swell up largely because they're just not used to the irritation of the floss running next to them; if you take the time to floss carefully each night – before or after you brush – your gums will get accustomed to the cleaning, and soon you'll be able to floss with nary a protest from them. Applying the above techniques while continuing to floss every day will shorten the time that they'll swell, and let you floss freely. Contact a dentist like one from Four Corners Dental Group Fairbanks to learn more.